Will future cars be able to detect potential drunk drivers before they
even turn on the ignition? According to regulators, the technology to
make that possible is already in development. Last month, the Department
of Transportation announced two new, in-cabin technology systems it believes
could be a featured option in all new cars by the end of the decade.
The New York Times, the first of these systems will incorporate sensitive, infrared touch
pads that will measure alcohol content via a driver's finger or palm.
Developers are still deciding whether the touch-based technology should
be included on steering wheels, ignition push buttons, or even both, in
the effort to prevent sober passengers or bystanders for triggering a
car starter for an impaired driver.
The second system incorporates breath-detecting technology similar to breathalyzers
already used by most police departments. Unlike breathalyzers, however,
these breath-analyzers would not require breathing into a tube or constant
calibration: they would be calibrated only once and use ventilation in
the steering column to sense the driver's normal breathing. If either
system detects a blood alcohol content higher than the legal limit, it
will either prevent the car from starting or shut the car down, much like
an ignition interlock device.
Both technologies, which are being funded by regulators and a group of
auto manufacturers as part of the new Driver Alcohol Detection System
for Safety, are still being honed for consumer use. Jeff Michael, associate
administrator for research and program development for the National Highway
Traffic Safety Administration, hailed the potential of the technology,
but reiterated that both systems have to be “highly accurate, very
fast and completely passive" before they are released to the market.
The Future of DUI Policing?
The New York Times notes that The American Beverage Institute is one of the view voices that
has been outspoken against the new technology. They claim it operates
on a number of assumptions about drunk driving and targets everyone rather
than the "hardcore drunk drivers" who are usually involved with
dangerous accidents. They also said that it could prevent casual or social
drinkers from using their car.
Jeff Michael countered those arguments, claiming that the technology is
being specifically developed to be faster and more accurate than anything
previously seen before. According to him, drivers who enjoy a drink at
dinner will be not be prevented from normally operating their car.
If you have been charged with a DUI or a DUI-related charge, then I invite
you to contact my firm, the
Law Office of Mark W. Garka, PLLC, today. I have dedicated my entire firm to advocating clients who are
facing DUI penalties and, for more than 15 years, helped protect their
rights and secure reductions and dismissals on their behalf whenever possible.
Don't hesitate to start mounting your defense.
Contact my firm to speak with a proven Washington DUI attorney ready to fight for you.