With 28 Americans dying every day in DUI-related crashes, the United States House of Representatives has called for drunk-driving-prevention technology provisions.
There are over 110 million self-reported incidents of alcohol-impaired driving among U.S adults each year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data from 2016, 10,497 people died in alcohol-related crashes, accounting for 28% of all traffic-related deaths in the United States. FBI data shows that in 2016, more than 1 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol or narcotics.
Statistics show that over the last 10 years, on average, more than 10,000 people died every year in drunk-driving crashes. Every 52 minutes, a person is killed in an alcohol–related accident. Blood alcohol concentration (BAC) refers to the percent of alcohol (ethyl alcohol or ethanol) in a person’s blood stream. A BAC of .10 means that an individual’s blook supply contains one part alcohol for every 1000 parts blood. A person’s risk of being involved in a car crash increases dramatically when a driver has a BAC of .08 grams of alcohol per deciliter (g/dL) of blood or higher.
In nearly one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States, the driver’s BAC has been recorded at 0.8 g/dL or higher . Statistics from 2019 show that even trace amounts of alcohol in a person’s system can negatively affect his or her driving ability. Approximately1,775 people killed in alcohol-related car crashes in 2019 had a BAC between .01 and .07 g/dL.
What if we could prevent more than a quarter of these fatal accidents?
Latest technology that prevents drivers who are under the influence of alcohol from starting or engaging a vehicle could save over 9,000 lives a year in the United States. Consequently, the U.S. House of Representatives has called for historic drunk-driving-prevention-technology provisions to be included as part of the INVEST in America Act. The Act includes honoring the Abbas Family Legacy to Terminate Drunk Driving (HALT) Act introduced by Congresswoman Debbie Dingell in memory of Michigan family, Issam and Rima Abbas and their children Ali, Isabella, and Giselle, who were killed in 2019 by an alcohol-impaired driverwho was traveling the wrong way on the highway. The provision in the act calls for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to include technology-neutral regulations to encourage a variety of drunk-driving-prevention systems to be added to all new technologically advanced cars.
DUI Will Be Prevented By The Latest Anti Drink And Drive Tech
The existing Ignition Interlock technology, when attached to a breath-testing unit, will stop the vehicle from starting if the driver is over a certain BAC level. The device usually requires intermittent checks at varying intervals to make sure the driver stays under the legal limit while operating the motor vehicle.
These systems have already been mandated in many jurisdictions for individuals who have been previously convicted of alcohol-impaired driving offenses. In Arizona, Louisiana, New Mexico, and Oregon there has been a 30% decrease in drunk-driving-related deaths with the implementation of ignition interlocks for convicted drunk drivers.
While the ignition interlock laws help decrease drunk driving, the laws are not always properly enforced. .
In order to further strengthen regulators’ efforts to combat DUI, the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety (ACTS), who represents over 17 automobile manufactures has partnered with NHTSA to collaborate on the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) program.
The Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety will stop drivers from starting their car if they have been drinking. The system built into the interior of a vehicle would measure the driver’s alcohol level within seconds with the use of 2 methods
The first method is a touch-based system where the person’s blood-alcohol level can be measured from beneath the skin’s surface. The driver will place his or her finger on a sensor located on the car’s ignition button/or the gear shift and a light will indicate whether the driver is good to go or not. The second method requires the driver to breathe into a sensor located on the driver’s door or the steering column. If the driver’s alcohol content is above the legal limit, the car will not start.
Volvo, the same company that introduced seatbelts, plans to use in-car cameras, multiple sensors, and technology to monitor distracted drivers. Beginning with a warning signal, it will take a series of highly intrusive steps to decide whether the driver is impaired or distracted. If that signal is ignored, the car will limit its speed and the vehicle’s on-call assistance service will reach out to the driver to make sure he or she is ok. If the driver still fails to respond to all of the measures outlined above, the vehicle’s driver-assist systems will safely bring the car to a stop.
The Latest Anti-Drink-And-Drive Tech In Cars Will Be Implemented by This Legislation
If the alcohol detection systems were required as standard equipment for all new vehicles, it would take at least 12 years for these vehicles to be popular enough in the United States save 4500 lives a year (half of its potential). Progress towards a solution will be much slower if vehicle software-based interventions are introduced on a voluntary basis.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recommends federally-mandated regulations to ensure that the detection technology is implemented throughout the U.S to combat the drunk-driving problem.
Thus, the HALT Act, passed by the U.S House of Representatives in July 2021 has been widely lauded as an important step towards combatting DUI offenses.
The bipartisan bill introduced in the senate early April 2021 is similar to the HALT Act.
The Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone (RIDE) Act passed the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation committees, and is now a part of the Surface Transportation Act. The bill awaits a vote in the Senate.
In a clear show of public support, a survey conducted among U.S drivers indicated that almost two-thirds of all drivers would voluntarily support the installation of new anti-drink-and-drive technology in vehicles, if it is accurate, efficient, and unobtrusive. Whether drivers would be willing to foot the bill for such technology, however, was another matter, as fewer than half of the survey’s responders indicated they would be willing to pay extra for advanced technology.
By: Chamal Mediwaka
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- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Traffic Safety Facts 2016 data: alcohol-impaired driving. U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, DC; 2017 Available at: https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812450external icon Accessed 1 August 2021
- Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Department of Justice (US). Crime in the United States 2016: Uniform Crime Reports. Washington (DC): FBI; 2017. Available at https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2016/crime-in-the-u.s.-2016/tables/table-18external icon. Accessed 1 August 2021.
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Traffic Safety Facts 2016 data: motorcycles. U.S. Department of Transportation, Washington, DC; 2018. Available at: https://crashstats.nhtsa.dot.gov/Api/Public/ViewPublication/812492external icon. Accessed 1 August 2021
- Strom Law Firm L.L.C. DUI Defense Lawyers, Columbia, South Carolina; 2021 Available at https://stromlaw.com/dui-lawyers/. Accessed 2 August 2021
- Strom Law Firm L.L.C. DUI Defense Lawyers, Columbia, South Carolina; 2021 Available at https://stromlaw.com/columbia-car-accident-lawyers/. Accessed 2 August 2021
- Strom Law Firm L.L.C. DUI Defense Lawyers, Columbia, South Carolina; 2021 Available at https://stromlaw.com/columbia-personal-injury-lawyers/. Accessed 2 August 2021