Technology to Prevent Drunk Driving Accidents

Auto safety technology can be used now to mitigate the effects of many of the factors that cause accidents, including distracted driving and speeding.  A recent story on NPR highlighted the various technologies that help avoid the risk of driving drunk.

The role of tech in helping prevent car accidents cannot be underestimated.  Auto makers and the government have long recognized this fact, and have collaborated in a program called Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety.  The program has developed tech that prevents a car from moving if the technology identifies that the motorist’s blood alcohol levels are above the legal limits.  Sensors are used to measure alcohol levels even more unobtrusively. These sensors are installed in the windshield of the car, and the technology requires the motorist to blow in the direction of these sensors, so he can begin operating the vehicle.

While this may be a reasonably effective way of identifying blood alcohol levels, the researchers are working on enhancing the technology to make it possible for the sensors to analyze the motorist’s breathing, and identify blood alcohol content while differentiating his breathing from that of other passengers in the car. The researchers are working on other ways of detecting alcohol content, including a light emitting technology that would shine a light on the motorist’s fingers and identify blood alcohol levels based on the amount of light that is reflected back. The technology is still at the prototype stage, but the goal is to have the technology in areas where the driver is likely to place his hands, like the steering wheel.

Other technologies that are also becoming even more advanced are cameras that specifically look for signs of impairment in a motorist. Volvo is taking the initiative and has already confirmed that technology using cameras to detect signs of impairment will be rolled out in its vehicles over the next couple of years.  The great advantage with camera systems is that technology that involves cameras is already available in many vehicles as part of other safety systems. For example, many vehicles now come with cameras that detect if the driver is looking at the road ahead or if he is being distracted, which could also possibly be used to detect signs of impaired driving as well.

While there has been some backlash to this technology with some critics citing privacy concerns, it is no doubt that these safety technology features could play a critical role in reducing the number of drunk driving accidents on the roads.  If these technologies someday become standard features in vehicles, the impact on road safety would be immense.

Alcohol related car accidents often result in very serious injuries.  If you have been injured in a car accident due to a drunk driver, it is very important that you speak with an experience accident attorney to protect your rights and maximize your recovery.    You might qualify for damages that include medical expenses, lost income, diminished earning capacity, pain and suffering and other types of damages. 


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