Over the last few decades, states all across the nation have strengthened the penalties associated with impaired driving offenses. One of the consequences many drivers face today is the requirement to install and use a special device through which they must supply clean breath samples before they are allowed to start their vehicles. Called ignition interlock devices, these products are credited with reducing repeat offenses as well as drunk driving accidents.

A report by The New York Times supports the findings that IIDs may aid in preventing some drunk driving crashes, but it also found that IIDs may actually contribute to other accidents. Ignition interlock devices are not only required to be used by drivers before starting their vehicles, but while they are actively driving as well. The tests required while driving, called rolling retests, are prompted at random times and must be completed and passed to avoid the vehicle initiating a series of alerts.

Using an IID while driving requires a person to hold the device in at least one hand, resulting in a manual distraction. The driver must pay attention to taking the test and following all steps properly, resulting in a cognitive distraction. In some situations, the driver needs to read the display instructions on the IID, resulting in a visual distraction. As a result, IIDs become contributors to distracted driving.

This information is not intended to provide legal advice but is instead meant to give people ordered to install and use an ignition interlock device some facts to consider so that they are aware of the potential risks associated with using these devices.