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New alcohol detection systems, sensors may prevent drunk driving

The national president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving is encouraging vehicle manufacturers to produce and develop technology in all vehicles to prevent drunk drivers from operating the car. The announcement came at a 2019 congressional hearing. Manufacturers had previously said that such technology should be available by 2020.

The new technology, known as the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety, has both a breath-based and a touch-based system. If the detection system finds the alcohol content in the driver to be greater than .08, the vehicle will not operate. Vehicle manufacturers said that the new technology is being test-driven in Virginia but is not ready to implement in all vehicles. Volvo announced a separate system that uses sensors and cameras to detect impairment in drivers in order to prevent car accidents.

Both federal and state funding is paying for the new technology; however, federal funding for the project is set to expire in 2020. The MADD president urged vehicle manufacturers to have the detection systems ready as quickly as possible in order to have the technology in place before the funding expires. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates that more than 7,000 lives could be saved by the new technology.

According to data from the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, an estimated 29% of road fatalities in Georgia and across the United States are due to drunk driving. Those who operate a motor vehicle have the responsibility to not drink before driving. When someone drives while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and causes a car accident, the driver may be responsible for medical and compensatory damages. A lawyer may be able to help the victim or family members receive monetary help by proving that the driver had a blood alcohol level above .08 and that driving drunk caused the car accident to occur.