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Anti-Drunk In-Car Breathalyzer Distracts Drivers and Cause Accidents

In-car Breathalyzers or Ignition Interlock Devices (IIDs), as they’re technically known, become more frequently used. Despite their obvious utility, sometimes they cause accidents.

The New York Times editors have made an investigation. They revealed a number of road accidents related to IIDs.

Sometimes a person behind the wheel has to blow into such a device when the vehicle is on the go. This distracts the driver, just like a cellphone, and may be a reason of a crash.

The use of in-car Breathalyzers is almost tripled in the United States in the past decade. The number of installed IIDs has grown from 133,000 to 350,000 in the past 10 years. These devices are also widespread in government vehicles in Sweden.

Several studies of authoritative organizations (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, University of Pennsylvania, others) prove that Ignition Interlock Devices significantly reduce repeat offenses for driving while intoxicated.

The companies, which sell such devices, assure they are safe.

IIDs prevent the drunk driving, as the engine cannot be started if the driver is under the influence of alcohol. This is good, of course.

But the driver can be asked to work with an Ignition Interlock Device when the vehicle is moving. The danger lies here and concerns the rolling retests.

How do they work?

A LifeSafer IID, for instance, beeps at a specified time after starting up, meaning the driver has to pick up the handset and blow into it again. If he fails to do this, the device creates some sort of alert: the horn honks or the lights flash.

The driver can resume normal operation only after the vehicle stops, the lockout period ends, retesting is done.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) strongly recommends to drivers to avoid distraction by pulling to a safe spot off the road, when taking required rolling retests.

There are the rules to limit distracted driving in some countries. In the USA, in particular, there are 34 states with IID requirements today for former offenders, and more think of enacting them.

Everything goes to the fact that in the future automakers will be required to apply IID technologies in all vehicles.

Source: Car and Driver

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