One of the concerns about drunk drivers that many people, law enforcement agencies and state governments share is the concern that these people do not learn from their prior mistakes and may once again get behind the wheel of a vehicle while impaired. This concern is one of the reasons that the required use of ignition interlock devices has become so commonly implemented for people arrested for or convicted of impaired driving offenses. Unfortunately, it seems that these very devices aimed at improving safety on the road may actually reduce it.
According to Car and Driver magazine, many vehicle accidents have been linked to the driver’s use of an IID at the time. The reason for this is due to something that few people are aware of. In addition to being required to pass a breath test before starting a vehicle, a person with an IID must also take tests while they are driving. These tests are prompted by the unit at random times and may not occur when a driver has the opportunity to safely pull over. A driver is only given a few minutes in which to complete the test before a set of alerts go off.
When taking a test with an IID, a driver must hold the unit in their hand, read the display on the unit and focus on the instructions to ensure all steps are followed properly. These are classic elements of distracted driving.
Distractions for a driver may be manual, visual or cognitive. The retests required by an ignition interlock device are all three.