Drunk driving is still a huge issue in the United States, despite all of the efforts lawmakers have introduced to stop it. Nearly 30% of all traffic deaths every year is attributable to drivers operating a vehicle under the influence.
Despite major media campaigns, deaths and injuries related to drunk driving have not gone down since the mid-1990s. However, according to Forbes Magazine, advances in auto technology may provide the boost necessary to reduce the toll drunk driving takes on American lives.
What sorts of technologies are available?
Currently, ignition interlock devices exist and all states have laws requiring them for certain categories of DUI offenders. However, some companies are toying with the idea of offering ignition interlock devices as optional enhancements for purchased vehicles.
Additionally, some automakers are looking into passive alcohol sensors. These sensors, when installed in a vehicle, can measure the ambient air inside the cab for alcohol content. Automakers estimate that ambient air systems may be available as an optional add-on starting in 2025.
What do drivers think?
The idea of having drunk-driving safeguards in vehicles is appealing to the majority of American drivers. In fact, in one survey almost two-thirds of drivers said that they would support the installation of alcohol detection systems in vehicles. In fact, the majority of those drivers stated that they would be willing to pay extra for such systems, provided that they cost under $500.
However, it is likely that technological solutions will take several years to become common enough in vehicles to really put a dent in drunk driving numbers.