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Ignition interlock devices can cause distracted driving

Many states, including Florida, require certain people convicted of a DUI to use ignition interlock devices in their cars. These devices make drivers test their blood alcohol concentration (BAC) with a breath test before being able to start the vehicle. While many view ignition interlock devices as a great solution to drunk driving, some say they cause unforeseen problems.

When an ignition interlock device is installed, the car cannot be turned on without a breath test. As the car drives down the road, the device will beep at random times, requiring another test. If the driver ignores the test, the device will shut the car off.

Many people ordered to use ignition interlock devices feel this is a dangerous distraction. The breath test takes several seconds, during which the driver is not able to give their full attention to the road. Those seconds can often make the difference in a crash. The Department of Motor Vehicles reported 407 car crashes from ignition interlocks in 2012. By 2016, that number rose to 678. As ignition interlocks grow more popular, the risks of distracted driving increase.

How can this affect you?

If you are convicted of a DUI in Florida, you can face many different penalties. You can face fines and jail time. Your license could be revoked. A judge may order you to take a substance abuse course. You may also be required to install an ignition interlock device in your car.

Having an ignition interlock device may reduce your risk of drunk driving again. But it can also increase your risk of distracted driving—and a distracted driving accident can cause even more legal issues.

Florida requires ignition devices for any repeat DUI offenders, as well as for anyone convicted of a DUI with a BAC of 0.15 or higher. Having this device installed can put you back in your vehicle early. But it is also important to understand the impact it may have on your future.

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