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Ignition interlock device may cause distracted driving

Drivers in Georgia have probably heard of the ignition interlock device, an in-car breathalyzer that prevents a car from starting if the driver is found to be drunk. According to the CDC, the IID reduces repeat DUI offenses by as much as 70% when installed. Those states that require DUI offenders to install an IID see 15% fewer alcohol-related crash deaths than states that do not.

IIDs have tripled in use over the past decade with 34 states having some sort of IID requirement for DUI offenders. The benefits are well-documented, yet there is one danger attached to them. IIDs oftentimes request "rolling retests" while the car is in motion and set off an alert if drivers fail to take the breath test. While the devices don't interfere with the vehicle's operation, they can prove to be at least a cognitive distraction.

Companies that sell IIDs state that the devices give drivers several minutes to take the test. During that time, drivers can pull over safely to the roadside. A person can, of course, take the test while driving, and companies add that an individual doesn't need to look at the device to take the test. Still, dozens of crashes have been caused by drivers who claimed they were taking the "rolling retest."

When car wrecks involve IIDs, those parties who were injured and not to blame may be able to file a claim against the driver or the manufacturer of the IID. Either the driver must be proven to have been negligent, or the product must be proven to have been defective and an inherent safety risk from the start. Whatever course their case takes, victims may want a lawyer to assist them at each step, especially with negotiations.

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