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DUI penalty may increase distracted driving

Posted on July 31, 2020

A person in Colorado arrested for a suspected driving under the influence charge may be required to install and use an ignition interlock device in order to regain their driving privileges.

The IID aims to prevent repeat impaired driving events by keeping a lock on a vehicle’s ignition until the driver passes a breath test.

Colorado’s IID requirement

As explained by the Colorado Department of Revenue, a person who refuses a chemical test may need to serve a two-month period without driving before being eligible to drive with an IID. A person convicted of a DUI offense may need to serve a one-month suspension period before IID eligibility begins.

Ignition interlock devices and rolling retests

In addition to taking a breath test prior to starting a vehicle engine, a driver must also take tests while they are driving. According to Car and Driver magazine, the ignition interlock system prompts the driver at random intervals when a test must be performed. These are called rolling retests.

To complete a rolling retest, a driver must hold the IID unit in their hand, creating a manual distraction akin to holding a phone while driving. They must also read the display on the unit, creating a visual distraction akin to reading a text message on a phone while driving. Finally, the driver must pay close attention to all prompts and steps in the test process, creating a cognitive distraction.

Several accidents have been linked to these rolling retests with reports documenting a person’s participation in an IID rolling retest leading up to and during a collision.