Preventing Drunk Driving Accidents Through Technological Advancements
After drunk driving convictions, motorists may be required to install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles as a condition of the return of their license to drive. These ignition interlock devices check the driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) before it is possible for the driver to turn on the car.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving has indicated the installation of an ignition interlock device reduces the chance of a repeat drunk driving conviction by 2/3rds when the device is installed. This makes sense, since a person cannot drive drunk if he is unable to start his vehicle with a BAC above-the-limit.
Physically preventing people from driving drunk is an easy way to stop impaired driving, but it has only been an acceptable solution to fighting DWI’s when past convictions have already occurred. This limitation exists because ignition interlock devices can infringe on the rights of consumers and can be costly to install and inconvenient to use.
Now, however, there are promising new technologies on the horizon that could someday be seamlessly integrated into vehicles as a standard feature and that could test every motorist’s BAC before he or she starts the car. The Department of Transportation is highlighting some of the research into these exciting new technologies that could very well save lives.
While the goal is for these breath tests to eventually be incorporated into vehicles, there is still a ways to go before this actually occurs. Regardless of what technologies are (or are not) installed in cars, it will always remain the responsibility of every motorist to refrain from driving drunk.
If a person does choose to operate a vehicle when impaired and a motor vehicle accident results, crash victims should speak with a Beloit auto accident lawyer about how they can make a case for monetary compensation from the driver responsible for harming them.
COULD TECHNOLOGY STOP DRUNK DRIVING CAR ACCIDENTS?
The Department of Transportation has indicated it is “bullish” on technology as a means of DWI crash prevention, especially as the agency invests in the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) program. DADSS is a research partnership between an industry consortium and NHTSA with the goal to develop a breath test to incorporate into vehicles.
DADSS has two prototypes currently under development and being tested. One of the two detects the level of alcohol in a motorist’s body by touch and the other is able to sense the breath of a driver in the car even without specifically forcing the driver to blow into a breathalyzer test. When testing is complete, if either or both prototypes are deemed reliable and present minimal or no inconvenience to motorists, they could be incorporated into cars to ensure no one is able to get behind the wheel while impaired.
Despite ongoing efforts and strict enforcement of laws prohibiting drunk driving, an estimated 10,000 people still die annually when people get behind the wheel drunk. If DADSS is successful in the creation of a breath test and testing is eventually a required safety feature, these lives could be saved.
While technology could be an important tool in fighting drunk driving deaths, drivers need to continue to make smart choices to avoid endangering others. Victims who are affected by an impaired driving crash also need to know their rights and should reach out to an auto accident lawyer in Beloit for assistance as soon as possible when a crash occurs.