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IID can prevent DUI, but it may cause distracted driving

Drivers in Texas are probably aware that safety tech in vehicles has its pros and cons. This holds true for ignition interlock devices, too. IIDs are in-car Breathalyzers that require drivers to pass a breath test before allowing them to start the vehicle. For over a decade, they have prevented hundreds of thousands of attempts made by drunk drivers to head out on the road.

IIDs are becoming more and more widespread with 34 states having a law that requires DUI offenders to install these devices. Those states see 15% fewer fatalities resulting from alcohol-related crashes than other states do. Inspired by this, lawmakers have even introduced a bill proposing that IID technology be mandated on all new vehicles by 2024.

Yet there is a drawback, in that IIDs can raise the risk for distracted driving. The reason is that IIDs require a "rolling retest" at regular intervals while the car is in motion. Though drivers do not need to look down at the handset before blowing into it, many do, and this moment of inattention to the road can lead to a crash. Companies selling IIDs point out, though, that the devices give plenty of time for drivers to take the retest. If drivers cannot take it while the car is moving, they can pull over to the roadside.

Distracted driving, whatever form it takes, is negligent. Distracted drivers can cause a crash that leaves victims hurting and burdened with medical expenses. Victims may be prevented from returning to work and therefore lose income. However, they could be compensated for these and other losses if they bring a claim against the responsible driver's auto insurance company. They might find it advisable to have legal assistance when so doing.

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