Distracted driving with a DWI penalty

August 10, 2020
Distracted driving with a DWI penalty

Missouri residents charged with driving while intoxicated offenses may face a range of penalties should they be convicted of the charge. These penalties may include the payment of high fines, participation in substance abuse or treatment programs and even the loss of their driving privileges.

The required use of an ignition interlock device may also be a consequence of a DWI conviction in Missouri. For some drivers, this may allow them the ability to reinstate their driving privileges. Unfortunately, the use of an IID may well cause new risks by contributing to distracted driving.

Rolling retests with ignition interlock devices

Car and Driver magazine explains that an ignition interlock device requires a driver to pass a breath test prior to starting a vehicle. Once an ignition has been started and a journey is underway, the IID system prompts the driver to provide additional breath samples and complete what are called rolling retests. These tests take a person’s hands, eyes and concentration away from driving, causing significant distractions for the driver. Several vehicle crashes have been linked to these rolling retests.

Distracted driving forms

Distracted driving may take multiple forms, as explained by AAA. Some distractions involve taking a driver’s concentration away from the road, such as the need to follow prompts on the IID handheld unit. The driver’s eyes also refocus away from the road to the unit as they must read all of the instructions that display. Finally, a rolling retest requires the driver hold the breath collection unit, creating a manual distraction.

The combination of visual, cognitive and manual distractions creates significant risks on the road.


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