In 2011, 277 people died in drunk driving accidents in Georgia. The Georgia Governors’ Office of Highway Safety reports 23 percent of deadly car crashes in the state occurred because of impaired driving. Nationwide, drunk driving causes as many as 10,000 deaths each year.
When a driver makes the dangerous choice to be impaired behind the wheel, an Atlanta drunk driving accident lawyer at Van Sant Law, LLC can provide legal assistance to the victims injured or killed by the impaired motorist. Even when victims are compensated for losses, unfortunately nothing can undo damage done when injuries are permanent or when death results from drunk driving. Prevention is always the goal and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has announced new technologies that could one day perhaps make drunk driving a thing of the past.
Can Technology End Atlanta Drunk Driving Accidents?
NHTSA has been working in conjunction with the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety (ACTS) since 2008 to develop Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS). The goal is to develop a technology to incorporate into motor vehicles that does not inconvenience drivers in any way, but which is effective at measuring a driver’s blood alcohol concentration. Drivers do not want their rights infringed on and do not want to be forced to actively take a breath or other BAC tests every time they get into a car if they have no history of impaired driving. However, if a technology could be incorporated to prevent a car from allowing a driver to operate while impaired, the technology could save as many as 7,000 lives annually.
The hope is such a technology will be available within five years. NHTSA has announced significant progress with DADSS. Just recently, two new technologies were incorporated into a test vehicle so researchers can observe how drivers interact with the technologies and whether they work well.
The technologies both prevent a car from moving when a driver’s blood alcohol concentration is detected to be .08 or higher, which is the legal limit nationwide. One infrared technology works by touch, with the infrared reading the blood alcohol content below the surface of the driver’s skin. The other technology is breath-based but, unlike most breath tests, the driver does not have to do anything different other than normal breathing. When the driver exhales, the test is able to detect his blood alcohol concentration through the breath.
If the technologies can get an accurate reading and can be used without causing hassle to a motorist, it is possible they will be effective in the fight against drunk driving. Initially, breath test technology is expected to be offered as an optional add-on safety feature in vehicles. One target market may be parents who want to make sure their children are never able to drive drunk. The success of the technology could lead to its adoption as a mandatory feature on vehicles so drivers will effectively be prevented from impaired driving.
The use of technology to prevent drunk driving is a long way away as a standard feature, and there remains a very real risk until such time. Motorists who make the irresponsible choice to operate a vehicle after drinking alcohol should be held accountable by the victims of their negligence and wrongdoing.