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Do Ignition Interlock Devices create distracted driving?

Posted by Richard Lawson | Nov 22, 2017 | 2 Comments

According to news reports, Alexis Butler was killed when a driver was distracted while providing a breath-sample on an ignition interlock device.

This tragedy brings to issue a few points that must be covered. The at fault driver was required to provide a breath sample to continue driving. As a result, his attention was divided for approximately three to four seconds.

The result was the death of an 18-year-old woman, and this Georgia DUI Attorney is calling into question the idea that someone should provide a breathalyzer sample while driving.  

In Georgia, a person convicted of a second DUI within a five-year period must install an ignition interlock device to drive (after first being suspended for four months). The interlock must remain on the vehicle for 12-months.

Additionally, when a person is arrested for any DUI, he or she can elect to install an ignition interlock device on their vehicle instead of filing an administrative license appeal.

As a result, ignition interlock devices have become quite common for those charged with a DUI in Georgia.  

Everyone knows drinking and driving is unsafe, and these devices are designed to prevent an impaired driver from driving. However, has anyone considered the safety concerns of distracted driving?

A distracted driver can be even more dangerous than impaired driving. In the news reports of this incident, the driver looked away from the road for three to four seconds.  

At 60 mph, a car travels 88 feet. In three seconds, the driver in the case at hand drove almost the length of a football field.  In four seconds, he drove more than the length of a football field. 

To provide a breath sample while driving implies that any driver would be completely distracted and unsafe. This tragedy was bound to happen.

I am not saying that a convicted multiple offense drunk driver should not have their driving monitored. I am, however, saying that we have better options.

It would be better to use passive systems such as ankle monitors and steering wheel monitors to detect alcohol in someone's perspiration. 

The fact is that ignition interlock is a business where the providers have heavily lobbied state legislatures as the solution to drinking and driving. This Georgia DUI Lawyer disagrees.  

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Richard Lawson has devoted his entire career to DUI Defense. He exclusively handles DUI Cases. As a former DUI Prosecutor he knows both sides of your case. Put his experience to work for you. You only have 30 days to protect your right to drive. Call now for immediate attention. We are available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day.


DL Reply

Posted Nov 24, 2017 at 10:06:24

You have a valid point regarding the ignition interlock device. It can be a distraction. However, it is not a requirement to give a sample in order to “keep driving”.
Interlock Devices cannot shut a vehicle off. Likewise, Interlock Users are advised to pull over if a rolling Retest is required by the Driver.
The Driver in question should not have been trying to give a sample while in motion. He should have pulled off to the side of the road and given the sample. The fact that he was distracted by trying to give a breath sample and remain in motion in his vehicle was due to his personal choice to not pull off to give the sample.

Richard Lawson Reply

Posted Nov 24, 2017 at 10:15:03

You make a very good point Mr. Stickler. He should have pulled-over. Thanks for reading the blog.

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