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New technology on the horizon to stop drunk driving

In previous blog posts, we have discussed how some people who are convicted of drunk driving might have to use an ignition interlock on the vehicles they drive. If U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer has it his way, those ignition interlock devices would give way to a new type of technology.

The new technology would use sensors in the vehicle to check the blood alcohol concentration of the driver of the vehicle. These sensors are non-invasive breath or touch technology. It would take less than one second for the technology to tell if a driver is over the legal limit for operating a vehicle.

If a driver is found to be over the legal limit, the ignition of the vehicle won't work. This technology is part of the ROADS SAFE Act. If the bill Sen. Schumer is co-sponsoring passes, $6 million would go toward the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety in the 2016 fiscal year. Funding would continue through 2021.

It is hoped that this technology would reduce the number of drunk driving accidents that occur. Mothers Against Drunk Driving estimates that someone is injured in a drunk driving accident every two minutes in this country.

Ignition interlock devices are considered intrusive to drivers who drive the same vehicle as someone who has been ordered to have an ignition interlock. Sen. Schumer estimates that the newer technology will cost $150 to $200 per vehicle to install. He noted that the legislation doesn't require that new vehicles have the technology installed; however, he would like to see it as an option for new vehicles.

While this could change the way drunk driving convictions are handled in the future, the ignition interlock is still the current technology that is used. If you are facing a DUI or DWI charge, exploring your options for a defense is the first step in deciding how to handle your case.

Source: Brooklyn Daily Eagle, "Schumer says technology can stop drunk drivers," Paula Katinas, July 29, 2015

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