The federal government, working alongside safety organizations and car manufacturers, has been working on reducing the number of drunk driving accidents for well over a decade now. The project is known as the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety, or DADSS for short, and could hold the potential to save roughly 10,000 lives per year.
In a nutshell, the system can be implemented in vehicles and detect blood-alcohol levels using a breath system in the steering wheel and infrared light to measure BAC through the fingertip of a driver. Other ventures have sprung up hoping to accomplish the same results with various methods, but only recently has the government pushed to make these technologies a daily reality for drivers.
The Infrastructure Bill
Americans have been used to pork in their bill barrels for decades now, and this push from Congress is much of the same. It was included President Biden’s enormous infrastructure bill as a mandate, requiring new cars to implement anti-drunk driving technology. Carmakers will have to become compliant by 2026.
The Department of Transportation (DoT) is going to determine what technologies are the best solution, however. DADSS is one of the most advanced methods with ample research in passively monitoring driver behavior and BAC, but it’s yet to be seen if this joint venture will become the standard.
The DoT is also looking at passively monitoring driver behavior to deduce intoxication, which could help detect more than alcohol. Infrared seems to be the most likely option with GM, Nissan, and more already implementing this technology, which looks pretty good for the DADSS project.
As with all things political in nature these days, the public is split on implementing this new technology. The primary argument against is the accuracy of these devices and what consequences inaccurate readings about a driver’s behavior could have. Those all in on this part of the bill are focusing on the potential to save 10,000 lives a year.
It’s still too early to tell what technologies the DoT will deem worth implementing and what role manufacturers will have to play in selecting those that truly do make a difference. For now, the main goal is to simply troubleshoot various methods and figure out what works best.
What everyone does know is that it takes a skilled car accident lawyer to handle a DUI, as well as hefty fines and potential jail time in addition to losing your license. That’s without other drivers and passengers’ lives in the equation after a drunk driving accident. Previous methods of public awareness and safety have done little to curb this trend of fatalities, and something else needs to be done.
Whether or not a system like DADSS is the answer remains to be seen. In the meantime, this bill will also demand the implementation of other safety technologies like automatic emergency braking and lane-departure warnings, which have been shown to reduce accidents of all kinds. Regardless of where the public stands, the future of driving is about to become much safer.