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The End of Drunk Driving? DADDS Won't Let Your Car Start

What can, and will, save lives as well as seat belts or airbags? The answer: the newest of new technologies!

Federal officials announced in mid-2015 that a revolutionary new, sensor-based technology developed by a joint research program called Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADDS), could end drunk driving in the U.S. The new technology will mean no more blowing into tubes, unlike the procedures of the interlock devices some states require after drunken-driving convictions, according to the Washington Post, "Instead, either a passive set of breath sensors or touch-sensitive contact points on a starter button or gearshift would immediately register the level of alcohol in the bloodstream." And if a driver registers above the legal limit, the car simply will not start.

The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks prompted rapid advancement in sensor technology that can detect tiny measurements and trace elements in people, packages and luggage. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) will work to speed up the process of finalizing and field-testing the DADDS technology, in order to get it into vehicles sooner than the estimated five to eight years. The goal is a device that takes less than a second to react, and function without maintenance for at least 10 years. "The message today is not 'Can we do this?' but 'How soon can we do this?'" NHTSA administrator Mark Rosekind told the Post. "It is a huge step forward."

Will the federal government have to step in to mandate the installation of DADDS in all new vehicles?  Rosekind doesn't think so. "There's not going to be a parent who isn't going to want this in their child's car," he said. "There's not going to be a business that's not going to want this in their vehicles."  The cost per car is estimated to be similar to the cost of seatbelts or air bags, at around $150-$200 per vehicle.

"This is the future, when drunk drivers will be unable to drive their car. While we still have a lot of work to do, we are closer than ever to eliminating drunk driving and creating a future of No More Victims," said MADD National President Colleen Sheehey-Church. Further, the new technology makes it possible to establish a zero-tolerance system for drivers under the drinking age that would shut down vehicle operation for any trace of alcohol at all.

Stay tuned for the national discussion of the DADDS system and whether it should be mandated in all vehicles.  In the meantime, be sure to drive safely at all times.

If you or a family member is involved in a vehicle crash, call on an experienced personal injury attorney to ensure that your legal rights are protected and that you receive the compensation you deserve. For more than 32 years Murphy & Garner has represented injury victims in western Georgia and throughout the state. For a free consultation, call 866-942-0552 or 678-563-1584.

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