While you might assume that other drivers take the responsibility of being behind the wheel as seriously as you do, the reality is that many men and women in Texas simply do not. Deterring people from driving while under the influence of alcohol is not easy either, and police arrest around one million Americans for this act each and every year. However, some experts believe that technology could be the answer to this problem.
According to a research paper from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety — IIHS — reducing drunk driving deaths could be as easy as installing a breath testing unit in new vehicles. Some form of this technology already exists, too. Ignition interlock devices are frequently used for drivers convicted on DUI charges.
Stopping drunk drivers
When it comes to drunk driving, IIHS reports that the U.S. has made very little progress since around the mid-1990s. Looking back over just the past decade, drunk driving has contributed to 30% of roadway deaths. Some car manufacturers are committed to lowering those numbers.
For example, Volvo partnered with the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety project — DADSS — to experiment with new blood alcohol testing technology. They looked at alcohol detection systems that can detect drivers’ BACs by monitoring the ambient air inside of vehicles. This type of passive alcohol sensor would not require drivers to provide a breath sample like with ignition interlock devices.
Making new technology standard
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety run the DADSS as a joint collaboration. Groups like this and the IIHS could help speed up the pace at which manufacturers adopt alcohol detection systems. These and other advocate groups have already demonstrated their ability to influence change based on their early adoption of things like automated emergency braking and side airbags.
Rather than being standard, alcohol detection systems are more likely offered as optional features first. But as one expert at the IIHS points out, optional safety features tend to rapidly shift to essential safety features. The time between alcohol detection systems being optional and being mandatory would also give manufacturers the time to further develop this technology.
Unfortunately, there is currently no good way to prevent drunk people from grabbing their keys and hitting the road. This means that you are at risk every time you get behind the wheel. No matter how safely you may drive, there is always the potential for one negligent drunk driver to completely alter the course of your future.
But you already understand just how difficult surviving a drunk driving accident can be. Severe injuries are common, and it does not take long at all for medical bills to pile up. You might not even be able to work, and you need help to fight your way through this situation. This is why you should be sure to work alongside an experienced attorney who understands your unique needs.