Are new technologies the solution the drunk driving problem?

Not so long ago in the United States, the legal standard for drunken driving was 0.15%. The standard from state-to-state varied but in 2011, the standard was set to 0.08%. The blood alcohol content can be measured either by a breathalyzer, through urinalysis or a blood test.
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Even though the standard was lowered to 0.08%, the U.S. still has one of the most lenient drunk driving policies in the world when compared with other nations. Some nations including Brazil, Hungary and Romania have a zero tolerance policy. Other countries such as Canada and New Zealand have a zero policy for young drivers Norway, Puerto Rico and Sweden have a 0.02% standard. Countries that have a 0.05% policy include Argentina, Canada, Denmark, France, Ireland and Switzerland.

Studies have shown that at BAC levels of between .030 and 0.059%, people experience euphoria and lose concentration. At levels up to .09%, people have impaired reasoning, depth perception, peripheral vision and problems recovering from glare.

The author of One for the Road: Drunk Driving since 1900, Barron H. Lerner, doesn’t believe that we have the political will in the U.S. to lower the blood alcohol content standard. He believes that technology may be the answer to preventing intoxicated drivers from driving. Mothers Against Drunk Driving concur and believe that new technologies could save an estimated 8,000 lives each year.

The Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS), a partnership of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, Inc. and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), is working to develop a couple of technologies which would prevent an intoxicated driver from being able to start their motor vehicle.

One proposed technology would be to have sensors on the steering wheel which would scan a driver’s skin for blood alcohol content.

Another technology, already commonly in use, is to fit all cars with an interlock device which measures a person’s BAC via their exhaled breath. Drivers who have been convicted of drunken driving are often ordered by the court to install an ignition interlock devices. In Washington state, interlock devices prevent a person’s vehicle from starting if their BAC is over 0.25%. The court will require an interlock device for convictions of reckless and negligent driving.

The problem with the interlock device is that many drivers try to circumvent it because it is costly or because they want to continue their behavior. People have been known to have companions blow into the interlock device or they will drive someone else’s car.

This information is provided by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group. We are a Seattle Personal Injury Law Firm and we represent people who have been seriously injured in motor vehicle accidents caused by drunken drivers and the family of those killed. With our help, you may recover compensation for your damages.

Related Posts:

New book about the history of drunk driving in America

Washington interlock device allows drivers with DUI license suspension to drive

Washington State alcohol ignition interlock law begins January 1st

Contact The Farber Law Group at 1-800-244-9087 or attorney@hgfarber.com to schedule a free and confidential case evaluation. We have offices in Bellevue to assist you.