Alcohol Detection Systems—Can Technology Keep Roads Safer?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is currently in the process of researching new technology that could potentially prevent drunk drivers from driving in the first place. Currently, the only technology on the market that prevents drivers from driving after consuming excessive amounts of alcohol is an ignition interlock device. These devices are placed inside drivers’ cars when drivers have been found guilty of a DUI and prevent the car from starting if the driver is found to have a high BAC. Yet, in the future, similar technology may be placed in all vehicles. The technology would be able to detect when a driver has consumed an amount of alcohol that would put the person’s BAC above 0.08—the legal limit. The device would prevent the car from being driven if it detects excessive amounts of alcohol in a driver’s system. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hopes, pending favorable results in testing, that these devices will be voluntarily placed in cars—thus making roads safer for everyone.
The technology would not require drivers to breathe into any device, but would rather be able to detect alcohol level based on touch sensors or breath sensors located inside the car that could detect alcohol while the driver breathes normally inside the vehicle. The sensors will have to be held to a very high standard of accuracy. Essentially, manufacturers won’t want to install devices that could disable the cars of perfectly sober drivers.
The research has the potential of saving thousands of lives, preventing many personal injury accidents, and ultimately leading to safer roadways overall. According to Business Insider, in 2013, 10,000 people were killed in accidents involving alcohol. The system that will automatically test a driver’s blood alcohol concentration is being tested by several auto manufacturers. The system is called the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety or DADSS.
In all 50 states, the legal BAC limit is 0.08, so auto manufacturers can easily install testing devices that would be compliant in all 50 states. While the system won’t be required by law in new vehicles, the hope is that, over time, the system will become standard in new cars.
Drunk driving leads to many deaths and injuries every year. These accidents can cause victims and their families immense pain and suffering. Medical expenses, missed time at work, and loss of quality of life are all consequences of drunk driving accidents. Widespread use of this technology remains years away. Sadly, for many victims, the technology will come too late. The good news is that preliminary research has shown that the DADSS system is highly accurate and effective. And, if ignition interlock devices are any indication—drivers can expect that the DADSS system will lead to fewer drunk driving related accidents.
For those who have suffered due to another driver’s poor decisions, the law in Meridian and Boise, Idaho offers immense protections for victims and their families. If you or a loved one has suffered personal injury or wrongful death due to drunk driving, you need the Law Office of Johnson & Lundgreen on your side.