Over the last couple of decades, more and more focus has been placed on the handheld use of cell phones or other devices in vehicles due to the distractions these items cause for drivers. When a driver is distracted, the risk of an accident logically increases, putting many people in harm’s way for senseless reasons. Oddly enough, one penalty commonly handed down to people convicted of driving under the influence may well contribute to another form of distracted driving.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, distracted driving may take multiple forms. Anything that requires a driver’s mental attention may cause a cognitive distraction, reducing the mind share the driver has to give to the act of driving. A visual distraction pulls a driver’s eyes away from the road and a manual distraction requires a driver to take their hand or hands off of the steering wheel, gear shift or other driving apparatus.
Many people convicted of DUI offenses lose the right to drive as part of their penalties but may reinstate their driving privileges by using an ignition interlock device. Car and Driver magazine reported on an investigation launched by The New York Times that found IIDs require a driver’s mental attention, eyes and hands even while actively driving. Hence, it seems that one penalty for an action deemed unsafe forces a person to engage in yet another unsafe action.
Once a driver has passed a breath test and been allowed to start their vehicle, they must complete and pass rolling retests at random times while operating their vehicle. It is during these tests that a driver may end up distracted in their effort to comply with their criminal and legal penalties.