New technology, the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS), is in the development stage at a Massachusetts lab, which could prevent drivers that are impaired by alcohol from ever operating a vehicle.
Our Fort Lauderdale car accident attorneys find this news encouraging as states continue to fight the carnage caused by drunk drivers on our roads.
On hand at QinetiQ lab for the product demonstration were U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator (NHTSA) David Strickland, Shane Karr vice president for Federal Government Affairs at the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, and Laura Dean Mooney, national president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).
Two systems of DADSS are currently being tested. One which determines a driver’s blood alcohol concentration by their breath and the other by a touch based approach. Both systems would prevent the driver from operating their vehicle if the BAC measured is .08 or higher.
The NHTSA reported in 2009 there were 10,839 fatalities nationally due to drivers with a BAC of .08 or more. In Florida there were 770 people killed from intoxicated drivers who had a BAC .08 or greater. A total of 527 deaths were from drivers with a BAC of .15 or more.
“Drunk driving continues to be a national tragedy that needlessly claims the lives of thousands of people on our highways each year,” said Secretary LaHood. “We need to put an end to it.”
MADD President Laura Dean-Mooney, widowed when her husband was killed by a drunk driver said, “Auto makers have stepped up to help turn cars into the cure. This project has made substantial progress and this technology could one day be an important step in our efforts to eliminate drunk driving.”
The 5-year, $10 million plan is a joint effort between the NHTSA and the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety (ACTS), which is an industry group on behalf of the world’s auto makers.
“What we’re doing is developing technology that won’t interfere with sober drivers, will require virtually no maintenance or upkeep and will have such precision that it only stops a driver when their blood alcohol content is .08 BAC or higher, which is the illegal limit for drunk driving in every state,” said Shane Karr. “Now that we have actual prototypes, a tremendous feat in of itself, we’ll be working to identify the gaps in performance between these prototypes and the precise standards we’ve identified as true technology requirements. This will point the way forward for the next phase of research.”
Strickland called the technology the “new frontier” but said it should not replace the common sense of a driver who decides not to get behind the wheel after having too much to drink.
If you or someone you know have been injured in a car accident in West Palm Beach, Margate, Port St. Lucie, or the surrounding areas call 800-529-2368 for a free consultation.