New Technology Aims to Stop Drunk Drivers Before Accidents Can Happen

On January 2nd, 2013, CBS News Today revisited the tragic story of a North Carolina couple who had lost their son in a drunk driving accident on October 2010. The accident occurred when a car driven by a drunk driver was going 100 miles per hour. The drunk driver was killed, the husband and wife seriously injured and the wife, who was six months pregnant, lost her baby.

CBS News retold the story of this North Carolina couple as part of a discussion regarding a new technology that could potentially have prevented this tragic accident. The new technology is expected to be available in 2013 and the development is funded by sixteen major carmakers and the federal government. 1073056_driver.jpg

Our Asheville car accident attorneys applaud the efforts of the technology company in aiming to develop a way to stop drunk driving. Regardless of technology, however, we also urge every person to make a simple decision not to drink and drive in order to prevent more tragic accidents like the one that the North Carolina couple endured.

The New Efforts to Stop Drunk Drivers
The new technology is being developed by a company called Qinetiq and the $10 million project has yielded two possible ways to stop drunk drivers. The goal of both possible technologies is to stop a car from starting if the driver is impaired.

One possible option is based on touch technology. The premise is that a sensor will be embedded in the start/stop button of every car. When the driver presses the button to turn on the car, an infrared light will be activated that measures the alcohol content in the tissue. In approximately half a second, the sensor is able to read whether the driver has a blood alcohol content above the legal limit of .08. The technology would also include a sensor in order to detect whether the person who was touching the button was actually the driver or whether someone else was reaching over to touch the button. If too much alcohol was detected, the car wouldn’t move.

The other option is a breath-based technology. It would involve the use of a sensor mounted near the steering wheel to test a driver’s breath to determine the driver’s BAC.

The technology is expected to be ready by the end of the decade and could potentially safe 10,000 lives a year if it really works to stop drunk drivers. Although the American Beverage Institute is concerned about possible false positives and about the potential problems that would be created for those who just want to have a single drink, proponents of the new technology believe that it could have a very real impact on saving lives and avoiding tragedy.

Regardless of whether the technology does make it into cars, the responsibility lies with each person who gets behind the wheel to make sure that he or she doesn’t put others at risk by driving drunk. If you are driving, make the commitment today never to drive drunk or to let anyone else you know drive drunk. If you are the victim of a drunk driving accident, take legal action to hold the dangerous drunk driver responsible.

The car accident lawyers at the Lee Law Offices, P.A. are here to offer assistance to those who have been injured or killed in a car accident. Call 1-800-887-1965 for a free and confidential consultation with an experienced accident attorney today.

Additional Resources
Teen Car Accidents in Charlotte and Elsewhere Likely with Alcohol, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, June 15, 2012

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