Ignition interlock devices are being installed in more and more vehicles. Texas and 33 other states require these devices in the vehicles of DUI offenders. Over the past decade, this technology has prevented hundreds of thousands of attempts made by drunk drivers to start their vehicles. The way IIDs work is simple: They are in-car breathalyzers that only let the sober drive away.
Drivers must pass not only the initial breath test but also the “rolling retests” that the system requires at regular intervals while the car is in motion. This keeps drivers from tricking the system by having someone sober breathe into the handset. However, these retests have been a source of distraction for many drivers. A recent investigation looked into dozens of car crashes involving IID distraction.
Companies that sell the devices point out a few important things, though. First, one is not required to view the device in order to take the retests. Second, the IID gives drivers several minutes to take each test. This means drivers who fear the possibility of being distracted can pull over.
Nevertheless, safety advocates say the concern deserves more attention. This is especially true when one considers how IID technology might become standard on all new vehicles by 2024.
Cognitive, manual and visual distractions are factors in a great many motor vehicle accidents. Those who cause such an accident cannot blame their IID, phone or any other thing outside of themselves. They could be held liable for any injuries suffered by another party involved in the crash. As the victim, they may want a lawyer to assess their case and help with the claim. The attorney might hire crash investigators and other third parties to bolster the case with evidence.