Vehicles that have in-car alcohol detection systems that prevent motorists from driving a car under the influence of alcohol could significantly help reduce the number of accidents caused by alcohol impaired drivers every year.
These results came from a new study conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The study was undertaken to determine how technology could help reduce the risks of motorists drinking and driving. Such motorists cause a significant number of auto accidents in the metro Atlanta region and across Georgia every year.
In fact, nationwide, approximately 30% of traffic accident deaths annually are the result of drunk driving. Every year, as many as a million people are arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol.
Despite ongoing efforts, federal transportation officials say that not much progress has been made in reducing the number of people killed in drunk driving accidents at least since the mid-90s. The current situation, however, is markedly better than it was in the 70’s and 80s, when drunk driving accidents killed a significant number of people every year. However, progress in reducing accidents has plateaued to some extent over the past couple of decades, and there has been no further progress in reducing the number of these deaths every year.
Currently, technology does help reduce some of the risks posed by motorists driving while drunk. However, these technologies are for those who have already been arrested and convicted for drunk driving. Several jurisdictions require motorists who have been convicted of multiple drunk driving offences to have an ignition-interlock device installed in their vehicle. These devices are designed to lock down the vehicle and prevent the motorist from driving if it detects alcohol in his system.
However, in-car alcohol detection systems, like those that step in when a person has beyond the legal limit of alcohol in his system, could significantly reduce the number of crashes caused by impaired drivers every year. Some car manufacturers have already begun trying to develop alcohols safety features for their vehicles. For example, Volvo is currently experimenting with alcohol detection systems that would be offered as optional equipment on several of its automobiles. This system would analyze the air in the vehicle to detect if the driver’s blood alcohol level is above the legal limits.
The researchers believe that more than 37,000 deaths between 2005 and 2018 could have been prevented if the driver’s blood alcohol levels had been below the legally allowed limit of 0.08%. Close to 10,000 lives every year could be saved if motorists could be prevented from driving while legally impaired.
Even the most basic on alcohol safety features in vehicles could help reduce the number of drunk driving accidents. Requiring these features for all new vehicles starting this year or just to those drivers with prior DUI convictions could help reduce the overall number of drunk driving fatalities. Presently, these devices are only required in certain jurisdictions, and usually apply only in certain cases, for example where the number of DUI offenses a driver has exceeds a certain limit. Being proactive about technology that actually prevents a person to drive if drunk, even if he has no DUI conviction on his record, could do much more to help reduce the number of fatalities caused in such accidents every year.
The Atlanta car accident attorneys at the Katz Law Firm represent persons who have been injured as a result of drunk driving accidents in the metro Atlanta region and across the state of Georgia.