Distracted driving with an ignition interlock device

Residents in Texas who face impaired driving offenses may end up having their driver’s licenses suspended or even revoked as part of the penalties for their charges.

Without a valid driver’s license, a person may be unable to keep a job or take care of a family, making it highly important they find a way to reinstate their driving privileges. In Texas, the installation and use of an ignition interlock device may allow this to happen.

How an ignition interlock device works

An ignition interlock device really does two things. First, it prevents a person from starting a vehicle if he or she is drunk at the time. This happens by mandating the driver pass a breath test via the IID system. Once the system confirms the breath sample is clean, it electronically unlocks the ignition to allow the person the ability to start and drive the vehicle.

Once driving, the ignition interlock device monitors a driver to determine if he or she consumes alcohol after starting the vehicle. This happens via what are referred to as rolling retests.

Understanding rolling retests

As explained by Car and Driver magazine, an ignition interlock device signals a driver at random times when a rolling retest is required. The driver has but a few minutes to complete the test. Tests involve holding the breath collection device in one hand, reading the breath collection device screen and concentrating on completing all steps of the test on time and appropriately.

Together, these steps create visual, manual and cognitive distractions for drivers. These tests have been linked to multiple crashes.