Today, virtually every state in the country has some sort of law in place that requires select individuals convicted of impaired driving offenses to install and use an ignition interlock device. These devices connect to and control a vehicle’s ignition, only enabling it to be started once a breath test has been successfully passed. For many defendants, the use of an IID is the only way to regain their right to drive, allowing them to keep their jobs and manage their lives. However, there is more to the use of an IID than many people realize.
As explained by LifeSafer, a provider of ignition interlock devices, a driver must not only pass an initial test to start a vehicle, but also take and pass subsequent tests while driving. These tests, called rolling retests, are prompted at random times so a person never knows when to expect them. Most people have a maximum of five minutes in which to complete and pass the test, making it impossible to guarantee the ability to pull over to take these tests.
Despite assurances from IID manufacturers, a report by The New York Times found that taking rolling retests is really just another form of distracted driving. Even worse, there are multiple accidents in which the use of an IID have been found to be a cause or contributing factor.
At a minimum, an IID provides a manual distraction by requiring a person to hold the device while taking a test. A driver must also pay attention to commands, requiring their mental attention. It may also be necessary to divert eyes away from the road to reach the unit or read instructions on the display.