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Can Car Manufacturers Deter Drunk Driving?

Person driving car

Drunk driving takes the lives of thousands of people each year. When impaired people make the decision to get behind the wheel, they’re risking their lives and the lives of others. There have been strides to try and stop drunk driving, like using taxis or rideshare services like Uber. Advertising explaining the dangers of drunk driving always informs the audience of how their lives can change in an instant if they choose to drive drunk. Despite these options and countless deterrents like hefty penalties, drunk driving still happens. So what new measures are being taken?

What Device Can Prevent Drunk Driving?

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) supports a new proposed idea that could potentially save lives. There’s movement for federal legislation to have alcohol-detecting devices in U.S. vehicles. There are already devices in use that can do this. Called ignition interlocks, these devices are used by those who have been caught drunk driving before. The driver breathes into the device and the car will only start if the person’s blood alcohol level is within the legal limit.

But there have been advancements to technology that detects the driver’s blood alcohol level that can get immediate and accurate data about the state of the driver. Some groups hope this technology will become commonplace in all vehicles.

Many advocates for this kind of technology have lost loved ones to drunk drivers, like William Mirza, who lost his uncle. He talked about the importance of this kind of technology and how he and other families would still have beloved family members. There are even some instances where entire families were lost because of drunk driving. The Abbas family, a father, mother, and three young children, were killed in a head on collision because a driver was going the wrong way on the interstate. The driver was suspected of drunk driving.

How Soon Will This Technology Be Available?

Funding for research of these devices could be provided by the Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone Act—or the RIDE Act. The act also aims to get this technology on the market in the next four years. The federal government would have $25 million to test the devices by 2021.

There are some doubts regarding this technology. The Auto Alliance wasn’t sure about the set time frame because the technology is still new and may need more time for testing to work out any issues.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration spent $50 million to make technology that would detect a drunk driver, along with the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS). Both the auto industry and federal transportation groups have dealt with scrutiny of not making this technology more readily available yet. There is thought that if the federal government gets involved, the auto industry would follow, and the technology would be on the market more quickly.

What Have Some Car Manufacturers Done?

There have been some steps from those in the auto industry to make technology that could detect an impaired driver. Jaguar has technology that will assess the driver’s heartbeat and other signs to see if they are fatigued, not focused on driving, or otherwise unfit to be operating a vehicle. Volvo proposed installing cameras and sensors to detect an impaired driver.

An Auto Alliance spokesman said that while there are efforts to move the process forward, the program will need congressional funding to get the products on the market.

A Look Toward the Future

Drunk drivers have caused countless accidents, injuries, and fatalities. It’s encouraging to know that there are groups heavily advocating for driver safety and preventing drunk driving incidents, as well as research going into technology that could potentially become part of our lives within the next five years.

While there are still steps to take in developing this technology and implementing it, the idea that drunk driving accidents could be something of the past is a future everyone can strive for.

Shrager, Sachs, & Blanco Defends Drunk Driving Victims

Unfortunately, drunk driving still affects families. If you’ve been injured in a car wreck or have lost a loved one in an accident, our lawyers can help you get justice. We’ll do everything we can to fight for your rights and hold the drunk driver accountable for their actions.

While we cannot take away the accident, we can provide some relief and fight for you to get the compensation you deserve. Contact our office today for a free case evaluation and we can start your legal journey.

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