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18-year-old dies in accident blamed on breath test

A man had been ordered to use an ignition interlock device (IID) to start his vehicle. The IID retested him every 20 minutes or so, asking him to blow again even as he drove. This is done to prevent a sober person from blowing to start the car and then simply drinking in the vehicle.

These rechecks are common, but an accident is now raising questions about IIDs' overall safety.

The man claims that he looked away from the road while he was attempting to perform one of those tests. When he did, his pick-up truck plowed into a car driven by an 18-year-old girl from Michigan. The man survived the crash, but the girl died in the hospital.

While stopping drunk driving is a priority for lawmakers, some are now wondering if these devices just introduce new risks. Are the tests worth it when innocent people are killed?

It is worth noting that officials in Michigan have said that the tests don't usually demand that you take them instantly. It gives the driver a five-minute window. In that time, he or she is expected to find a safe moment to blow while driving or a safe spot to pull over. Clearly, the driver of the pick-up did not do so.

Officials also noted that the devices aren't supposed to be installed in such a way that they make drivers bend over and look away from the road. They should theoretically be able to keep their eyes on traffic until the test is complete.

Those who have tragically lost a loved one in a car accident need to know all of their legal rights. Family members may have a right to financial compensation.

Source: Wood TV, "Questions after deadly crash blamed on in-car breathalyzer," Heather Walker, Nov. 20, 2017

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