Technology and drunk driving prevention

23982670_sOver the past few years, officials have been alarmed to see an increase in drunk driving accidents and alcohol-related deaths in Las Vegas and across the U.S. In order to combat the resurging problem, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is calling for the implementation of new DUI technology that can reduce or eliminate drunk driving from occurring.

Alcohol Detection Systems

Scientists in the Boston area are currently developing systems that prevent drunk drivers from being able to operate a motor vehicle. The U.S. government and the 16 major auto makers have come together to fund the project, titled Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety. Two separate systems are in development, both of which aim to measure the blood alcohol content of the driver in order to either grant or restrict access to operation of the vehicle.

One approach involves a sensor that is mounted near the steering wheel which measures the BAC using the driver’s breath. This is similar to breathalyzer technologies that are commonly used for those who have already been convicted of drunk driving.  The other system measures the driver’s BAC using a start and stop button that passes infrared light into the driver’s fingertip. Safeguards for the system will detect if someone sitting in the passenger seat is attempting to use the system instead.

If either system detects a BAC above the legal limit, the car simply will not turn on and the drunk driver will be forced to find another way to get home. The NHTSA and scientists are stressing the need for these systems to be unobtrusive and easy to use for them to be effective for the regular population. They are also striving to make them become standard equipment with every new vehicle regardless of whether someone has previously been convicted of drunk driving.

Potential Effects

Scientists believe that DADSS alone can reduce the current alcohol-related death rate of 10,000 people per year by 70 percent if it is utilized properly and found in enough vehicles. However, full implementation of both systems is expected to take another eight to 10 years. DADSS supporters claim that the systems would be completely voluntary and set to 0.08, which is currently the legal limit for drivers in Las Vegas and around the U.S.

With a 4.6 percent increase in drunk driving deaths over the past two years, drunk driving is a problem that drivers face every time they take to the roads. While the NHTSA is attempting to prevent these accidents from occurring, until those technologies are implemented victims of alcohol-related accidents are going to continue to need help recovering from any serious injury they may have sustained. Those who are dealing with the affects of a drunk driving accident should contact a personal injury attorney to discuss their matter and get on the road to recovery.