Drunk driving is one of the biggest killers in our world today, and road safety advocates are utilizing every avenue available to fight back. Awareness campaigns and drunk driving checkpoints can only do so much, though, and they still rely heavily on driver responsibility and decision-making abilities that can be a gamble for most drivers after they have had a few drinks.
Now, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced that there may be technology available to prevent drunk driving from another angle — by stopping intoxicated or inebriated drivers before they get behind the wheel. In a press conference for the U.S. Department of Transportation, the NHTSA’s administrator Mark Rosekind said that he hopes that two prototypes of the system, called the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS), will be available in new car models in the next five to eight years.
What Does the System Do?
One of the models of the DADSS takes air samples from a driver’s breath, but does not make the driver blow into a breathalyzer before starting the engine. The other model uses near-infrared spectroscopy to determine a person’s blood alcohol level by shining a light on the driver’s finger.
In both models, the technology will prevent a driver’s car from starting if it determines that the person’s blood alcohol level is 0.08 or higher. Additionally, reports show that the technology can be programmed to a “zero tolerance” setting for drivers who are under the age of 21 and should not be drinking at all. If an underage driver gets into a vehicle equipped with a DADSS, the car will not start if it detects any level of intoxication in the driver’s system.
Mandatory Breathalyzers for All?
Right now, one penalty for drinking and driving is the mandatory installation of an ignition interlock system (IID), which forces a driver to provide a breath sample every time he or she wants to start the car. In most cases, these devices are not required until a driver has been convicted more than once on DUI/DWI charges. Once installed, a judge can determine how long the driver has to use the device and when the installation period is over.
With the DADSS, the same technology can be utilized to monitor every driver, even if he or she has never been convicted of a DUI-related crime. This may seem like a great idea for drivers who want to be safe from the potentially poor decisions of others on the road, but in some cases, there may be a concern about trampling on a car owner’s freedom.
There’s a lot of ways to keep drunk drivers off the road, but right now, law enforcement officials and legislators rely on penalizing those who have already driven drunk. With the DADSS, drunk driving could potentially be eliminated at the source before any dangerous situations develop.
For more information regarding drunk driving laws and prevention measures, or if you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, contact a Denver auto accident attorney at Levine Law today.