IARA Executive Director
RECENTLY ENACTED NEW YORK STATE DWI LAW RAISES SERIOUS PROBLEMS FOR REPOSSESSIONS
Effective August 15, 2010, an amendment to New York State Vehicle and Traffic Law 1192 requires that all individuals convicted of a misdemeanor or felony DWI must install and maintain an ignition interlock device on any vehicle they intend to operate.
Misdemeanor DWI includes operating a vehicle with a BAC of .08% or higher.
Further, the law makes it a Class A misdemeanor for anyone to tamper with or remove an otherwise operable interlock device. The law states: “No person shall tamper with or circumvent an otherwise operable ignition interlock device.”
There is no exception in the law for vehicles which are repossessed and found to have an interlock device installed.
As the law is currently written, a creditor who repossesses a vehicle which had an interlock device will not be able to remove it. Thus, as a practical matter, the creditor will not be able to auction the vehicle.
Seemingly, when the law was drafted repossession issues were overlooked.
There are two solutions to the problem. First, a creditor which repossesses a car with an interlock device can bring a proceeding for a Court order directing that the interlock device may be removed. As with all Court proceedings, the downside is the loss of time while the case proceeds and the expense.
The second solution is to have the law amended to permit removal of an interlock device after repossession. A serious lobbying effort should be able to accomplish this amendment because the correction would not undermine the primary purpose of the law and would protect the rights of lien holders and lessors who provide vital commercial products to citizens of New York.
Anyone interested in pursuing an amendment to the law to allow removal of interlock devices after repossession should contact the following:
Rudolph J. Meola
Best personal regards,
International Automotive Remarketers Alliance