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Bill proposed that would mandate alcohol detection tech on cars

Drunk driving crashes claim the lives of 30 people each day in the U.S. What Georgia residents should know is that there is technology out there that can help prevent these crashes by keeping an intoxicated person from driving in the first place. In particular, the ignition interlock device, or IID, makes it so that drivers cannot start their car until they pass a breath test.

Since 2006, IIDs have forestalled more than 3 million attempts made by drunk drivers to start their cars. Many states require DUI offenders to install these devices in their vehicles. Now, seeing the need for alcohol detection systems on all cars, lawmakers have introduced a bill called the Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone Act of 2019.

If implemented, the bill would fund efforts to develop a new alcohol detection system that all automakers would have to equip their cars with by 2024. Development teams may or may not work from existing technology; the details of implementation are unclear.

Under a certain program partially funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, engineers are using touch sensors to detect alcohol use in drivers. Volvo announced that it is working on alcohol detection using in-car cameras. Of course, no technology is perfect. Even IIDs can produce false positives when drivers have, for example, mouthwash on their breath.

Drunk driving is one of the top factors in car accidents, and it forms the basis for many personal injury claims. In some cases, victims of a drunk driver can sue not only for compensatory damages, which cover things like medical bills and lost wages, but also for punitive damages. Negotiating for a fair amount with the insurance companies can be hard without legal representation, so victims may want to leave this and other steps to a lawyer.