The Automobile of the Future May End Drunk Driving
Imagine a world without impaired driving.
If automakers and the Federal government are successful, you will be able to buy a car in 10 years and choose to add an affordable feature that will protect the driver from operating a vehicle above the legal BAC limit of .08.
If you choose to put this technology in a vehicle you purchase, it will be reliable, accurate, tamper-proof, seamless, unobtrusive to the sober driver, durable and won’t allow the car to start if the driver’s BAC level exceeds the legal limit of .08 BAC. Sounds pretty amazing, doesn’t it?
The Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) program seeks to turn this aspiration into reality within the next decade. DADSS is a cooperative effort between the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety (ACTS), which represents many of the world’s leading automakers.
This ten year effort is well underway. Various prototypes are being developed, tested, and refined. This partnership between private sector and government is strongly supported by Congress and many traffic safety groups, including Responsibility.org.
Detractors claim that the DADSS program seeks to put an ignition interlock on every vehicle. They claim you won’t even be able to have one beer at dinner and drive home, you will be stranded in the middle of nowhere, or your car will stop driving.
These detractors are trying to run the DADSS program off of the road and as dangerous collateral damage, this Chicken Little – Sky is falling rhetoric threatens the effort to expand the use of ignition interlocks for convicted DUI offenders.
Ignition interlocks are not new technology. Every state and D.C. has an ignition interlock program to punish DUI offenders and protect the public. The traffic safety community is united around a legislative effort to require convicted DUI offenders to use interlocks (ideally in conjunction with alcohol assessment and treatment to produce behavioral change). To date, 24 states have implemented this law. Responsibility.org supports this effort.
Interlocks prevent a DUI offender’s car from starting if the driver has a BAC level above a pre-set limit (usually .02 BAC). The DADSS technology will prevent a person from starting an equipped vehicle if the driver has an illegal BAC limit of .08 or above. The DADSS technology is not designed to penalize drivers who consume alcohol responsibly and follow the law. To learn more about the difference between these two lifesaving technologies and their intended uses, go to click here.
Responsibility.org is supportive of the use of new and innovative approaches to eliminate drunk driving. We believe that technology, in combination with education and enforcement, plays a vital role and the DADSS research is a promising prevention tool to save lives.