Ignition Interlock Device are intended to save lives. However, in one case it appears that an Ignition Interlock Device may have cost an 18-year-old woman her life. Alexis Butler, a cheerleader from Michigan, was killed in a motor vehicle accident, as she was backing out of a driveway. She was struck by a motorist, in Arlington County, Texas, who was taking a required rolling re-test while driving. She had recently moved from Battle Creek, Michigan to Texas.
There were no tire marks at the accident scene. This suggests that the IID user did not see Ms. Butler’s vehicle and made no attempt to stop his pick-up truck. He may have been distracted by the rolling re-test. Lieutenant Chris Cook of the Arlington, Tx Police Department stated that it was very concerning that a driver would be using an IID while they are driving.
The driver informed investigating police officers that he momentarily took his eyes off the road so that he could perform a rolling re-test. There was no alcohol detected.
This case shows that taking a rolling re-test can be dangerous and ignition interlock users should take precautions to reduce the risk of being involved in a collision while taking a required rolling re-test. Due to the license suspension consequences associated with missed rolling re-tests, drivers may be distracted by the requirement to take these tests, which might be requested at inopportune times. The unnamed driver stated that he had only taken his eyes off the roadway for 3-4 seconds.
All interlock devices require rolling re-tests to prevent a driver who is under the influence of alcohol from having someone else blow into the interlock device to allow the intoxicated person to operate the motor vehicle.
Interlock manufacturers claim that a driver should be able to keep his eyes on the road while taking a rolling re-test and that it is up to the driver to pull over, if necessary, to take a breath test. Others claim that rolling re-tests constitute “distracted driving.”