The End of Drunk Driving?

New technology, developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), could put an end to drunk driving. The technology is a combination of breathalyzer and touch technology that would prevent the car from being operated by someone who is over the legal limit. Additionally, teenagers who have the system installed in their car would not be able to drive the car at all if they have alcohol in their system. NHTSA showed off their program to members of Congress this week and explained that they would like the system to be installed in cars as a safety option. While the system would not be mandatory, it would be an option for parents and possibly an incentive given by insurance companies.

“There is still a great deal of work to do, but support from Congress and industry has helped us achieve key research and development milestones. DADSS has enormous potential to prevent drunk driving in specific populations such as teen drivers and commercial fleets, and making it an option available to vehicle owners would provide a powerful new tool in the battle against drunk driving deaths,” explained Mark Rosekind, NHTSA Administrator.

The excitement surrounding this program can be explained when people look at drunk driving statistics. According to the FBI, it is believed that there are 300,000 incidents of drunk driving daily in the United States, but only 4,000 arrests are made each day for the offense. The huge difference in these numbers illustrates the need for more safeguards to be in place. It is clear that law enforcement cannot monitor all drivers and will not catch everyone who gets behind the wheel after consuming too much alcohol.

The optional safety measure is especially beneficial for those that have already been convicted of drunk driving. The FBI also reports that around 33% of all drunk driving arrests are with offenders that have already been caught intoxicated and behind the wheel. It would appear that there are some people who need the restrictions of a preventative program, and other people who would like the device for protective measures, especially with teenagers.