Every year, approximately 9,000 fatalities occur on roads throughout the United States. The problem remains in need of a solution. The cost to society is approaching $300 billion in 2019; according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Congressional action may lead to a solution that slows, if not stops, drunk driving.
As part of the extensive bipartisan infrastructure law enacted in 2021, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) must install systems in new vehicles that stop drivers impaired by alcohol from getting behind the wheel and driving.
A recent survey from Johns Hopkins University revealed that 65 percent of respondents believed that new vehicles should have technology preventing drunk driving.
Options to resolve a deadly problem
Various forms of that technology already exist and have undergone testing. The Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) project is a collaboration between NHTSA and the automotive industry. The proposed device is similar to ignition interlocks installed on the vehicles of convicted drunk drivers. However, it only analyzes what the driver exhales, preventing the car from moving.
Other options could be a touch-based system conducting an analysis of the driver’s skin or technology that can detect erratic driving, distraction, or fatigue.
Drunk driving has significantly decreased over the past several decades. The 1980s and 1990s saw fatalities significant decrease. However, the past 30 years saw stats staling. By the mid-nineties, a third of fatal accidents occurred with drivers with a BAC of 0.08 and higher. By 2021, it was at 29 percent.
Regardless of statistics and surveys, people getting behind the wheel impaired by alcohol remains a problem. Aside from the criminal consequences, the impact on loved ones dealing with a tragic and preventable accident.