Is There a Way to Put an End to Drunk Driving for Good? DOT Says Yes…

June 13, 2015

Every year in the U.S., close to 10,000 lives are lost as a result of drunk driving. Given that drunk driving is entirely preventable, significant efforts and funds have been put towards educating the public about the dangers of drunk driving and trying to deter this reckless behavior by criminalizing it (and exacting some harsh penalties for those convicted of the offense).

The DOT is working on developing groundbreaking technology that regulators hope will stop drunk driving for good, a Portland car accident lawyer explains.

The DOT is working on developing groundbreaking technology that regulators hope will stop drunk driving for good, a Portland car accident lawyer explains.

Although these efforts have reduced the incidence of drunk driving, they haven’t stopped it.

So, regulators at the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) are now taking a new approach – they are working on developing technology to STOP drunk drivers from being able to turn on vehicles and drive at all.

If successful, this technology could be the key to ending the terrible practice of drunk driving, regulators hope. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx astutely pointed out the importance of this work, explaining that, “Education, awareness and enforcement have succeeded in dramatically reducing drunk driving fatalities, but the advanced technology of DADSS [Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety] brings enormous potential to save even more lives.”

How Could the DADDS Technology Stop Drunk Driving?

The DOT’s DADDS program, which was initiated in 2008, is currently focused on the development of the following technologies to try to end drunk driving for good:

  • A breath-operated device that would prevent  a vehicle from starting when a motorist has a BAC at or above 0.08 – Based on the info the DOT has released so far about this technology, it seems like it would work similar to a breathalyzer device.
  • A laser-operated device that would detect intoxication via people’s skin – Specifically, this device would point a laser at a driver’s fingertip to assess sobriety versus intoxication.

These devices have reportedly already been developed as mock-ups, with the next phase of research focused on testing drivers’ interactions with the systems.

How the DADDS Technology Could Be Implemented

Although there is still a lot of work that needs to be done before the DADDS anti-drunk driving technology would make its way into consumers’ vehicles, at this point, researchers have noted a few different ways this technology could be delivered to the public. Specifically, the possibilities at this point include (but are not limited to):

  • Offering DADDS technology as an optional/additional safety feature on new vehicles
  • Providing this technology only for certain classes of motorists, such as commercial drivers, motorists with a history of DUI or even new/teen drivers.

Among the strongest supporters of this technology has been MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving). In fact, MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church has stated:

For 35 years, MADD has worked to stop the horrible crime of drunk driving. This technology represents the future, when one day drunk driving will be relegated to the history books…While we still have a lot of work to do, we are closer than ever to eliminating drunk driving.

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Portland Car Accident Lawyer at the Savage Law Firm

If you or a loved one has been hurt by a drunk driver (or by any negligent motorist), you can rely on a trusted Portland car accident lawyer at the Savage Law Firm for experienced help and aggressive legal advocacy. For more than three decades, our lawyers have been devoted to providing each of our clients with personal attention, respect and the highest quality legal services.

To learn more about our legal services and what we can do for you, call us at 503-222-0200 (in Portland) or at 206-957-7272 (in Seattle). You can also email us using the form on this page. We represent clients in communities in both Oregon and Washington from our offices in Portland and Seattle.

Categories: Driving Safety