A bill called the Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone Act of 2019 has been introduced in Congress. If it is passed, it will mean big changes for automakers and for drivers in Kentucky and across the U.S. Specifically, it calls for the development of an alcohol detection system that would then be installed on all new vehicles by 2024.
The details of implementation were left vague, so it is unclear if development teams will use preexisting tech. The bill would provide funding for the research and development as well as for the pilot program.
The need for alcohol detection systems is clear as drunk driving crashes kill 30 people each day in the U.S. Certain detection systems have been proven to be effective, especially the ignition interlock device. This is a breath test that connects to a car’s ignition and prevents the car from starting if drivers do not pass the breath test. Since 2006, such devices have prevented over 3 million attempts made by drunk drivers to start their vehicles.
Ignition interlock devices are not the only option, of course. Volvo is focusing on curbing drunk driving through cameras. As part of the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety Program, some engineers are developing systems that measure blood alcohol content through touch sensors.
When alcohol abuse is behind car collisions, those injured through little or no fault of their own can seek compensation. Of course, if victims are partially at fault, then whatever amount they are eligible to receive will be lowered proportionally. On the other hand, victims of drunk driving may sue for more than just compensatory damages; they could sue for punitive damages as a way to punish the defendant. Before doing anything, victims may want to have a lawyer evaluate their case.