Automobile accidents that are caused by intoxicated drivers account for over 10,000 fatalities and nearly 300,000 injuries in the United States every year; these numbers correlate to a staggering 194 billion dollars in related damages and costs. Studies have shown that drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08—the legal limit—are 4 times more likely to get in an accident and drivers with a BAC of .15—nearly twice the legal limit—are 12 times more likely to be involved in an accident. However, since 2008 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been researching and working on new technology to tremendously decrease the amount of these accidents that occur every year.
NHTSA has recently unveiled 2 new models of alcohol testing technology which they call Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS), they plan to have these systems completed within the next 5 to 8 years. These models would prevent the car from operating in the scenario in which the driver’s BAC is above .08, similar to ignition interlock devices usually used for DWI offenders. NHTSA does not plan for these prototypes to be a mandatory part of vehicles in the future, but offered as a voluntary upgrade to vehicles such as automatic braking or lane departure warning systems.
The two recently introduced DADSS include a breath detecting system and a system that operates by touch:
- The breathalyzer DADSS system is located on the driver’s side door or on the steering wheel and is able to detect alcohol particles in the air around it. The system takes noninvasive air samples, so even if the driver refuses or simply does not remember to blow into the device, it will be able to detect the amount of alcohol the person has consumed.
- The touch DADSS system would place a touch sensor on the ignition or the gear shift, the sensor uses near-infrared tissue spectroscopy to detect alcohol below the skins surface in under a second.
Though they are still years away, these new technologies are taking the next big step in the fight against the continuing problem of intoxicated driving and reducing the number of drunk driving related injuries and fatalities each year.
Drunk driving is a serious issue in the United States, and one that can cause great harm to anyone. If you or someone you love has been affected by injuries, or death, sustained in an accident caused by the careless intoxicated driving of another person, call Roberts & Roberts. With over 30 years of experience protecting the rights of the people of Texas, we have the resources and the knowledge to fully investigate your accident, and get you the compensation you deserve. The call will cost you nothing, it could mean everything.
Justin is an attorney at Roberts & Roberts and focuses his practice on mass tort litigation, where he specializes in helping individuals who are harmed by recalled or unsafe pharmaceutical drugs and medical devices. He has earned recognition as a “Top 40 Under 40” Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers. Prior to joining Roberts & Roberts, Justin served as an attorney in all three branches of Texas’s state government, including as a Briefing Attorney on the Texas Supreme Court. He also represented electric and natural gas utilities in complex regulatory proceedings before the Public Utility Commission of Texas and the Railroad Commission of Texas. Justin is a published author in the St. Mary’s Law Journal.