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Ignition interlock devices causing driver distraction

A recent New York Times investigation found that ignition interlock devices could cause distracted driving. IIDs, also known as "Breathalyzer" devices, are installed in cars to prevent drunk driving. The devices require a driver to submit a breath test before they can start their vehicle, and in some cases, submit a subsequent breath test after driving for a period of time.

The 'rolling retests" that are required by some IIDs can cause a driver to become distracted while they reach for the device and blow into it. New York Times investigators found many personal injury lawsuits and accident reports involving drivers that caused crashes while complying with rolling retests. One company that sells IIDs claims that rolling retests are safe, and drivers are given several minutes to pull over if they wish to complete the test while parked.

Possible distracted driving from rolling retests is more of an issue now as IIDs become more widely used. Over the past 10 years, the number of IIDs installed in U.S. vehicles has grown from 133,000 to 350,000. Some people are even pushing for laws that would make IIDs mandatory in all vehicles by 2024, regardless of the driver's DUI history.

Drivers who are distracted while attempting to comply with rolling retests can inadvertently cause motor vehicle accidents, which could lead to serious injuries, which may lead to long-term disabilities or chronic pain. If a person was injured in this type of accident, he or she may be able to file a lawsuit against the distracted driver and the company that made the IID. An attorney may be able to help a driver in this situation to pursue financial compensation from all of the liable parties.

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