Across the country, impaired driving keeps claiming the lives of thousands of drivers, passengers, pedestrians, motorcyclists, and others. Sometimes, drunk drivers wipe out entire families, leading to tragedies that reignite the public’s passion for eliminating drunk driving once and for all.
Decades of anti-drunk driving campaigns have increased awareness about the hazards of drinking and driving. Efforts by organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Drivers have curbed drunk driving by 50% since the 1980s, yet drunk drivers keep taking thousands of lives in the U.S. each year. Can anything else be done to save lives?
Will New Cars Sold in the U.S. Need Impairment Detection Systems?
As lawmakers brainstorm ways to reduce the number of drunk driving deaths, some have proposed bills that would require new cars sold in the U.S. to have ignition interlock devices built into them. Many lawmakers believe that adding an IID system into new cars would improve vehicle safety and stop drunk drivers before they can endanger anyone. One bill, in particular, proposes allocating significant government funding for researchers and engineers developing effective alcohol-detecting devices in new cars.
The Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone Act or RIDE Act, sponsored by U.S. Senators Tom Udall, D-New Mexico and Rick Scott, R-Florida, would pour funds into continued research and development. The Act would also provide millions of dollars for the federal government to test these devices in government vehicles.
Who Supports Government Action for Anti-Drunk Driving Technology?
It’s no surprise that the measure is backed by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). It would force automakers to build cars and trucks with passive detection systems that would provide instant readings of every driver’s BAC before they can even start their cars. Safety advocates hope the technology will eventually become as mainstream as airbags.
Many advocates besides MADD support this legislation, including the Auto Alliance, an industry organization that welcomes government momentum to reduce drunk driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has also spent $50 million to develop technology that would quickly and reliably deduce whether a driver is too impaired to operate a vehicle. These efforts include a government-funded research program involving more than a dozen automakers to develop Driver Alcohol Detection Systems for Safety (DADSS).
Clearly, several alliances are working together to construct legislation and produce technology that will curb drunk driving even further. Still, some advocates are accusing the auto industry and federal transportation officials of taking too long to implement DADSS or a similar system and put it on the market. According to a former NHTSA administrator and president emeritus of Public Citizen, getting the government involved in putting pressure on automakers should quicken the pace of developing this technology.
Some automakers have already started projects to monitor drivers’ physical states. Jaguar’s “Sixth Sense ” project, initiated in 2015, would read a driver’s heartbeat to determine whether he or she was fatigued or distracted. Volvo claimed it would install in-car cameras and sensors to detect whether a driver was physically fit to drive.
You Need Strong DUI Defense When an IID Malfunctions
Currently, it’s up to the judge to determine whether a driver who has been accused and convicted of drunk driving for the first time should install an ignition interlock device as part of their sentence. Ignition interlock devices, like breathalyzers, and even police officers, are prone to errors. If you’ve been accused of DUI in or near West Palm Beach, you need strong representation and fast.
If it’s your first DUI charge, there is hope that you may be eligible to enter a diversion program. A diversion program can help you avoid a permanent stain on your criminal record. Contact attorney Brian P. Gabriel to find out how our firm can help you protect your rights while fighting your DUI charge. Remember, a DUI charge may be a misdemeanor offense, but it can significantly alter life as you know it. This is a serious matter that requires a serious defense. Call 561-622-5575 for a free consultation or complete our contact form. At The Law Office of Gabriel & Gabriel, we’ve helped defendants fight alcohol charges for more than 25 years.