The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration debuted new in-car technology this week that aims to prevent drunk drivers from operating a vehicle while under the influence.
Personal injury lawyers in Knoxville and Maryville are frequently called to assist victims and families in the aftermath of a Tennessee drunk driving accident. Each year, the federal government reports more than 11,000 people are killed in drunk driving accidents — or about 1 every 45 minutes. Alcohol was involved in more than one-third of fatal car accidents in Tennessee in 2009, accounting for 345 of 989 fatal crashes.
The DADSS technology was introduced on Friday at the Massachusetts lab where it is under development. The systems, which could be installed in new cars, test blood-alcohol level through touch or breath.
“Drunk driving continues to be a national tragedy that needlessly claims the lives of thousands of people on our highways each year,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “We need to put an end to it.”
Laura Dean-Mooney, the national president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, was also on hand for the demonstration.
“Auto makers have stepped up to help turn cars into the cure,” she said. “This project has made substantial progress and this technology could one day be an important step in our efforts to eliminate drunk driving.”
The $10 million effort is a cooperative between the NHTSA and the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety (ACTS).
“What we’re doing is developing technology that won’t interfere with sober drivers, will require virtually no maintenance or upkeep and will have such precision that it only stops a driver when their blood alcohol content is .08 BAC or higher, which is the illegal limit for drunk driving in every state,” said ACTS Vice President Shane Karr. “Now that we have actual prototypes, a tremendous feat in itself, we’ll be working to identify the gaps in performance between these prototypes and the precise standards we’ve identified as true technology requirements. This will point the way forward for the next phase of research.”
NHTSA Administrator David Strickland called it the “new frontier in the fight against drunk driving” and said the next stage of testing could begin later this year.
If you or a loved one is injured or killed in a Tennessee car accident, contact Hartsoe Law Firm, P.C. for a confidential appointment to discuss your rights with our Knoxville injury lawyers and Maryville accident attorneys. Call (877) 472-5657.