For years, organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) have been using behavior modification as a tool to curb drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel in order to reduce the risk of fatal car accidents in Winston-Salem and elsewhere in the country.
Up to this point, our North Carolina personal injury attorneys would agree that this method hasn’t shown much success considering a third of fatalities in 2009 were a result of someone driving under the influence.
In late January, U.S. Department of Transportation announced the plan for a new in-vehicle device called Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) that would prevent habitual drunk drivers from having the opportunity to drive while intoxicated. DADSS is currently in development and is estimated to cost about $10 million in the next 5 years to fully implement.
As we posted in February on our North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog the DADSS device would be optional in new vehicles and would detect blood alcohol concentration either through a breath-based or touch-based method. Illegal levels of detection would prevent the driver from starting the vehicle and driving while intoxicated.
KSDK reports that the alcohol-detection system could be an option for new cars in the next 10 years but some would like to see it become standard installation in all new model vehicles. MADD president Laura Dean-Mooney doesn’t believe the device would ever become mandatory but thinks the new device could save thousands of lives each year.
A few legislatures are doing their part by shifting $60 million of state highway safety money towards the development of the project. The high estimated cost is relative to the fact that DADSS would be more sophisticated than current technology placed in vehicles of repeat offenders like ignition interlocks. It is intended that motorists, if driving under the legal limit, won’t even know the device is working. The new device will have sensors operated by touch or that test the air when a driver gets in to start the vehicle.
Consumers who have never had to mourn the loss of a loved one killed from a drunk driving accident would probably not opt to have the alcohol detection device installed automatically in vehicles because it will increase the price of the new vehicle. Until motorists are put in that position, they underestimate the true value of an alcohol detection device that will save thousands of lives each year.
If you have been seriously injured in a drunk driving accident in North Carolina, contact the personal injury lawyers in Charlotte, Greensboro, or Asheville for legal advice about your rights. The Law Offices of Lee & Smith are dedicated to protect the rights of their clients so call for a free consultation at 1-800-887-1965.