Several New Devices Are Being Developed to Combat Drunk Driving
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Manufacturers, government officials, and activists have all focused on the necessity of improving road safety by reducing driving under the influence. However, technological innovations could be key in cutting down on drunk driving.
According to the Washington Post, major technological strides have been made to implement technologies into vehicles to prevent intoxicated individuals from driving. However, these aren’t expected to be immediately implemented, causing conflict between manufacturers and officials.
In-car breathalyzers and sensors are being tested in vehicles, so why aren’t they standardized?
Technology to fight drunk driving
The goal for the auto industry is to create a Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS). This technology would be implemented into vehicles and could detect if a driver was under the influence. If alcohol was detected, the vehicle would not start.
Part of the DADDS involves an ignition interlock system. This would take the form of a breathalyzer installed in a vehicle, and if drivers could not pass the test, the vehicle would not start.
Some manufacturers have worked to implement other features to increase road safety and cut down on drunk driving. Volvo, for example, has cameras and sensors intended to prevent drunk driving.
Pushing for drunk driving technology to be implemented
In pushing for the implementation of anti-drunk driving features, officials and advocates point to the effectiveness of past measures to combat it.
The government began tracking drunk driving crash data in 1982, reducing deaths from intoxicated driving by half. Still, drunk driving fatalities are far too common, which is why they believe the new technology is needed.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
(NHTSA) has already spent $55 million to develop the DADSS. While many believe that the technology is nearly ready to add to cars, it looks like it won’t happen for a few years.
This has led groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving to push for action now rather than later. Manufacturers have technology that can increase safety, even if DADSS is not yet ready.
The slow rollout of anti-drunk driving technology
There have been new bills and regulations introduced to make anti-drunk driving safety features a priority in cars. Those outside of the automotive industry have pointed out that sensor and breathalyzer technologies are seemingly ready to be widely implemented.
However, auto industry representatives warn that the technology is not ready and that implementing it too early can lead to the technology hurting drivers more than helping.
Representatives point to the risk that an in-car breathalyzer could inaccurately say that someone is under the influence. Sensors also might not always recognize that a driver is properly driving within their lane.
Still, some outside the auto industry are not buying these arguments. They point to how manufacturers were slow to implement airbags and even fought against their addition. In the eyes of skeptics, auto manufacturers are often slow to add features that could help save lives.
Even if there is no single consensus on how to prevent drunk driving, it’s clearly a problem that needs to be solved. The future of anti-drunk driving technology in vehicles is unknown, though it’s fair to say that within the next decade there will be features added to combat the problem.