The Dangers of IID Rolling Retests
Many people who are convicted of drunk driving are required to use an ignition interlock device (IID) when they are allowed to drive again. These devices work just like breathalyzers and measure the amount of blood alcohol in a person’s system.
The IID is installed in the driver’s vehicle and data is collected from the IID and sent to the proper law enforcement authority that is overseeing the driver’s sentence.
In order for the vehicle to start, the driver has to blow into the IID. If he or she passes the test, the vehicle starts. If they fail, the vehicle will not start. In many states, the driver is also required to submit to periodic testing as they are driving, often referred to as rolling retests. The IID will randomly beep, signaling to the driver that they need to blow into the device for a retest.
The driver has a very limited amount of time to retest. In many cases, the driver is unable to safely pull over and take the test and must submit while they are driving. If the driver fails the retest, or fails to take the retest, the horn starts beeping and lights start flashing. The data will also be transmitted of the failure to pass or retest.
If a driver who is being monitored by an IID fails to submit to a retest, they risk losing their driving privileges. This often puts pressure on the driver and can be quite a distraction while they are driving.
Many safety advocates have spoken out against the rolling retests because of the distracted driving issues they pose which could end up costing lives.
Tragically, this is exactly what happened in a recent fatal crash in Arlington. The 18-year-old victim was backing her Toyota Camry out of a driveway on Redstone Drive when a Chevy Silverado pickup truck plowed into her vehicle. The victim died a week later from the injuries she suffered in the crash.
The 31-year-old driver of the pickup told police that he was distracted by the IID which had beeped for a retest. He was in the middle of that test when he hit the victim’s car. Police say he was not impaired and no charges have been filed at this time.
Upon hearing of the fatal crash, Attorney Stephen Hamilton commented, “My heart goes out to the young girl’s family. I think these rolling retests really need to be reexamined. Basically, law enforcement is ‘encouraging’ a driver to engage in distracted driving behavior or else that driver could lose their right to drive.”