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Distraction a prevalent risk with anti-drunk driving IIDs

Ignition interlock devices, which are in-car Breathalyzers, have been proven to be effective in the fight against drunk driving. Pennsylvania is one of 34 states that require DUI offenders to install one of these devices in their car. How it works is simple: It starts the car for drivers once they pass the breath test, and it requests a rolling sample of alcohol-free breath while drivers are on the road.

There is one risk associated with IIDs, though, and it is distracted driving. The New York Times investigated dozens of accident records where drivers claimed that going through the IID's "rolling retests" caused them to crash.

Sellers of IIDs point out, though, that the devices give sufficient time for drivers to provide a new sample of their breath. Some devices give drivers several minutes. As a last resort, drivers can always pull over. In no way are they required to look at the device to undergo the test. All they do is pick up the handset and breathe into it.

It is a concern worth addressing in greater detail, though, since lawmakers have introduced a bill that, if implemented, would make IID technology a must for all vehicles by 2024. Some experts hope that by then, a less distracting system for alcohol detection will be developed.

Whether they use an IID, a navigation system or a smartphone, drivers are always liable to distraction. There are three types of distractions: manual, visual and cognitive. When any of these plays into car accidents, drivers can be held liable for the other side's financial losses, including medical expenses and lost wages. Victims, for their part, may want to have legal assistance when seeking appropriate compensation.

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