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A new driver distraction: ignition interlock devices

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A new driver distraction: ignition interlock devices

Most drivers today are aware that distracted driving is a topic that has garnered a lot of attention among public safety advocates, lawmakers and more. The rise in popularity of mobile phones really initiated the focus on driver distractions. Initially, much of the conversation centered around manual distractions that took a person’s hands off the steering wheel when driving. Over time, AAA and other organizations have educated the public that driver distractions may be visual and mental as well. 
In fact, the AAA exchange indicates that the most dangerous distractions are those that combine visual, cognitive and manual distractions to drivers. Even in-vehicle systems like those used to program navigation systems may provide these multiple forms of distractions. 
Now, Car and Driver magazine indicates that ignition interlock devices pose significant distraction to drivers. This is ironic at best given that the use of an IID is commonly part of a person’s consequences for a drunk driving offense. Most people think of IIDs as a way to prevent a vehicle from being started if a person is under the influence of alcohol. In addition to this, drivers must take other tests at random times after they have started their vehicles. 
IIDs create risks for drivers when they require a person to participate in a rolling retest. In these tests, a driver is alerted by the ignition interlock device system that a breath sample is required. The driver must read the instructions on the display unit, hold the unit while blowing into it and pay attention to all prompts. Failure to complete the test in the time allotted may result in the IID system setting off a series of alerts. 

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