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Members of Congress Hope to Build Smarter Cars to Prevent Drunk Driving

November 7th, 2019

Earlier this month, Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico and Senator Rick Scott of Florida introduced legislation that would require all new cars and trucks to come with special alcohol detection systems by 2024.

Under the Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone Act of 2019, the “RIDE Act,” $10 million would be allocated to continue government-funded research for breath and touch-based sensors. The sensors would examine the driver’s blood-alcohol level in real-time as he or she drives. An additional $25 million would be set aside to help install and test this new technology in government-owned vehicles. The hope is that the new technology would be passive, requiring no actions of the driver.

Currently, researchers have only developed a smaller, more streamlined version of a breathalyzer on the driver-side door, but the technology remains unable to detect specific blood alcohol levels; only that alcohol is present.

Leading the Way

Sen. Udall was motivated by his own experiences in working with families of drunk driving accidents. “When you meet with families, and when you see the devastation that this causes, it’s something that really moves you,” he said. Serving as New Mexico’s attorney general during the 1990s, he spent much time brainstorming ways to reduce drunk driving-related crashes, which at the time were the highest per capita in the U.S.

In a proactive effort, New Mexico became one of the first states to mandate the use of a breathalyzer test to start a car for those who had been convicted of driving drunk. Despite our country’s rapid technological progress, Udall believes that the auto industry has not adequately bought into the importance of these extra safety measures.

Although fatalities caused by drunk driving have significantly declined since the 1980s, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), they are still responsible for about one-third of all traffic deaths. In fact, in 2017 alone, there were more than 10,800 fatalities from drunk driving accidents.

While there is much opportunity to create technology to help keep our roads safer, it remains to be seen just when and how that will happen.

Henson Fuerst Can Help

If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto vehicle accident due to the negligence or recklessness of another, it can have a profound impact on many aspects of your life. No one should not have to pay for the careless mistakes of someone else.

The experienced North Carolina personal injury lawyers can help you to navigate the legal system and help secure the compensation you need. At Henson Fuerst, we fight for what serves you best. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, call us at 919-781-1107 today!