Despite decades of anti-drunk driving efforts, thousands of people continue to be injured or killed in drunk driving accidents every year across the United States. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported more than 10,000 deaths from drunk driving accidents nationwide in one recent year.
In New York, there were over 400 fatalities from impaired driving accidents that same year, according to the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research. Meanwhile, New Jersey recorded 160 deaths from drunk driving accidents in that same year, according to the New Jersey State Police.
Faced with all these deaths, Congress has decided it’s time to see if new anti-drunk driving technology can help reduce the number of drunk driving accidents. According to news reports, a recent law requires automakers to install systems to help prevent drunk driving accidents in all new vehicles beginning in 2026.
There are three solutions that safety advocates are focusing on for alcohol detection in cars to help keep drivers safe: Ignition interlock devices, Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS), and ridesharing apps.
Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C’s Fight for Mandatory Interlock Ignition Devices
Both New York and New Jersey require all drunk-driving offenders to install interlock ignition devices in their cars. One of our partners, Steven Benvenisti, Esq., was the moving force behind mandatory IIDs in New Jersey.
Benvenisti was seriously injured by a drunk driver his senior year at The College of New Jersey. That’s why he’s fought tirelessly for the law to require this technology.
“I know the anguish this violent, preventable crime inflicts on survivors and family members, we’re going to see many lives saved because of this modification in the law,’’ says Benvenisti.
1. Ignition Interlock Devices
Ignition interlock devices (IID) require drivers to use a car breathalyzer to prove they are sober before turning the car on. These devices are already being used in many states to help prevent those convicted of DUIs from getting behind the wheel again while intoxicated.
One of the benefits of ignition interlock devices is they are relatively simple and do not require a police officer to enforce. If the device senses that a driver is intoxicated, the car will not turn on, solving the potential problem before it even starts. This means a police officer does not need to be present to prevent drunk drivers from hurting themselves or others.
According to a report from Mothers Against Drunk Driving, ignition interlock devices have stopped more than 2.3 million people from driving drunk since 2006. That figure is probably now much higher because the report measured IID data through 2017.
2. Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS)
Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) is another promising technology for preventing drunk driving accidents. DADSS works similarly to ignition interlock systems in that the idea is to prevent drunk drivers from being able to start their cars.
There are two main methods that a DADSS program uses to sense if a driver is impaired. The first is breath-based and requires a driver to breathe into a sensor before the vehicle starts. This system uses a sensor to determine the concentration of alcohol molecules in a driver’s breath.
The other method DADSS systems use is based on touch. With this method, drivers place their fingers on sensors on the vehicle’s gear shift or ignition button. These sensors can then scan the skin’s surface to measure the driver’s blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) level using infrared light.
Alcohol-detection systems that stop people from drinking and getting behind the wheel could prevent more than a quarter of U.S. road fatalities and save upwards of 9,000 lives a year, a new study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety shows.
3. Ridesharing and Smartphone Apps
While ridesharing apps aren’t new, they can play a crucial role in reducing drunk-driving accidents by providing impaired drivers a convenient alternative form of transportation. One study found that Uber, one of the most popular ridesharing apps, cut traffic deaths nationwide by four percent and drunk driving deaths by more than six percent.
Have You Been Injured By a Drunk Driver?
While technology can help reduce the number of drunk driving accidents, no technology can prevent every accident from occurring. Call us if you’re a victim of a drunk driver, and their negligence has injured you in New York or New Jersey. The drunk driving accident attorneys at Davis, Saperstein & Salomon, P.C. have recovered more than $740 million in verdicts and settlements for our clients and can help you get justice. Contact us today for a free initial consultation.
- National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) | https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving
- Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research | https://www.itsmr.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Impaired-Crashes-Jan-2021.pdf
- New Jersey State Police | https://nj.gov/njsp/information/pdf/fcr/2019_fatal_crash_report.pdf
- Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) | https://www.madd.org/press-release/new-jersey-becomes-34th-state-with-all-offender-ignition-interlock-law
- USA Today | https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2021/11/10/congress-cars-drunk-driving-dui-drunken-driving/6367473001/
- Insurance Institute for Highway Safety | https://www.iihs.org/news/detail/alcohol-detection-systems-could-prevent-more-than-a-fourth-of-u-s-road-fatalities
- Berkley| https://newsroom.haas.berkeley.edu/research/study-ride-sharing-apps-led-to-6-drop-in-alcohol-related-traffic-fatalities/