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Can ignition interlock devices actually cause car crashes?

On Behalf of | Sep 30, 2021 | Blog, DUI

More than 10,000 people die every year in drunk driving accidents, according to the National Highway Safety Traffic Administration. Given this concerning statistic, it is no wonder that authorities have long worked to reduce collisions and fatalities associated with driving under the influence.

One of the ways states like Florida have attempted to address this problem is by requiring people with prior DUI convictions to install an ignition interlock device (IID) on their vehicle. However, recent evidence suggests that these devices may actually cause accidents.

What are ignition interlock devices?

Drivers with an IID on their vehicle must blow into a breath test device before driving. If their blood alcohol content is above a certain level, they will not be able to start their car.

What risk do ignition interlock devices pose?

Though IIDs reportedly prevent many repeat offenses, they may also cause crashes in some cases. Many of these devices require a “rolling retest,” which requires motorists to blow again while driving to prove they are still sober. Retests can distract drivers, and the related distractions may be responsible for thousands of accidents, according to the New York Times.

All motorists have a responsibility to protect other people on the road by driving safely and limiting distractions. This includes when using an ignition interlock device. IIDs typically give drivers a few minutes before they must submit the retest. In order to prevent a collision, drivers may want to pull over to a safe place before attempting to perform this test.