Future of DUI Accident Prevention and Awareness: Emerging Trends and Best Practices
Every day, about 28 Americans die in a drunk driving car accident, as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). As the years go by, we have seen national improvements that have lowered the number of drunk driving deaths. As technology is constantly emerging, the future of DUI accident prevention is taking new forms, such as new sensors and programs that the country has been implementing to keep drunk driving accidents down.
In November of 2021, Congress passed, and President Biden signed, a trillion-dollar infrastructure bill that, among many other things, allows cars to monitor the drivers for possible signs of drunk driving. This system is called Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS).
Alcohol Detection Technology
Newer car models have the capability of containing high-tech pieces of equipment to help detect alcohol levels in a person. These alcohol detection sensors are being incorporated into the shifting knob of vehicles. This allows the vehicle to detect alcohol in the sweat of the driver’s palm. If the alcohol level is above an acceptable cutoff, then the car system will automatically lock the vehicle’s transmission and a driver will receive an alert.
Other forms of this include fingerprint activation technology when touching a car’s keypads and ignition interlock devices, which are the most well-known. Cameras are another form of detection on newer cars that watch a driver’s eyes to make sure they are paying attention while driving. In addition, infrared cameras help monitor the driver’s movements.
The final form of technology that has been included on newer models of cars is dashboard-based sensors which will help the car to monitor the driver’s breathing patterns and measure if the driver is drunk or not.
Some cars with these monitor systems include Hyundai Mobis, Subaru, Volvo, Nissan, and Toyota. DADSS estimates car manufacturers spend $200 per vehicle enforcing these alcohol technologies within newer models. The estimated timeline for implantation is 2024 for breath sensors and 2025 for touch systems.
DUI Prevention Practices
There are multiple ways to prevent drunk driving and keep everyone on the road safe. One of these ways is the NHTSA “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign, which educates drivers about the dangers of drunk driving every December. For first-time drivers, some states require ignition interlocks to help minimize fatalities. Ignition interlocks are where a driver must blow on a breathalyzer-like device to start the car. This is a great tool to detect if there is too much alcohol in your system.
It is more common now to see law enforcement officers patrol a specific area where there are more likely to be drunk driving crashes . Another initiative created by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is Saturation Saturday, the Saturday before Labor Day. On this day, MADD and law enforcement officers host media events, as well as promote awareness of drunk driving.