Technology could prevent drunk driving car accidents in North Carolina

A third of all motor vehicle fatalities in 2009 were because of an alcohol impaired driver. Recently in Charlotte, WCNC reported yet another drunk driving accident that caused severe damage in a small community. The alcohol-impaired driver of the SUV crashed into a parked van in the driveway, hit a tree, and smashed into a transformer before being pulled out of his burning vehicle by a neighbor.

The Charlotte drunk driving accident caused 30 families to be without power, but thankfully caused no loss of life.
Our Carolina personal injury attorneys are disturbed by senseless accidents like these when they could be prevented by drivers not getting behind the wheel after having a few drinks.

The U.S. Department of Transportation reports that alcohol was a factor in 33% of fatal North Carolina motor vehicle crashes, leading to 430 motorists being killed in a drunk driving crash last year. South Carolina reported 47% of crashes in which the driver was alcohol impaired, resulting in 423 fatalities.

The government is hopeful the introduction of new technology could lead to fewer drunk driving accidents in the future. Recently, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Administrator David Strickland viewed the new Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS).

Still in the development stages, the new technology could eventually come standard in vehicles to detect blood alcohol concentration and prevent the drivers from driving under the influence. This is being evaluated two ways; either by a breath-based or touch-based approach.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving President Laura Dean-Mooney, also present at the unveiling, welcomed the progress of the DADSS research effort, saying, “Auto makers have stepped up to help turn cars into the cure. This project has made substantial progress and this technology could one day be an important step in our efforts to eliminate drunk driving.”

The DADSS is a $10 million project supported by the NHTSA and Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety and is expected to be a 5 year development plan. The next stage, slated to start later this year, will include practical demonstrations or one or more of the technologies.

“Whatever the future holds for these advanced drunk driving prevention technologies, one thing remains clear; no technology can, or should, ever replace a driver’s personal responsibility not to drive drunk,” said NHTSA Administrator Strickland.

Using a common sense approach is the best defense against drunk driving accidents. Simply put, don’t get behind the wheel if you have been drinking.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a North or South Carolina car accident involving a drunk driver, contact Lee & Smith for a free initial consultation by calling 1-800-887-1965. Lee & Smith has offices all over North and South Carolina including Spartanburg (864-577-0977), Asheville (828-251-5390), Charlotte (704-332-1577), Greensboro (336-379-0385), and Greenville (864-271-1936).

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