Will DUIs soon be a thing of the past? According to officials from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration last week, they could be.
As reported by the Washington Post, the NHTSA has announced new technology they believe could be standard in new model cars in as little as five years. The technology, as they describe, works like a noninvasive ignition interlock device: instead of blowing into a breathalyzer tube, a driver's blood alcohol concentration would be measured by a series of passive breath sensors and touch-sensitive contact points. If the person in the driver's seat registers a BAC higher than legal limit through these sensors, they would then be barred from starting the car.
The announcement comes after years of wondering by regulators if similar, imagined technology was even possible. Researchers—who were jointly funded by auto manufactures and federal safety regulators—believe now that they have answered that question. "The message today is not 'Can we do this?' but 'How soon can we do this?'" said administrator at the NHTSA Mark Rosekind. "It is a huge step forward."
A massive shift in traffic safety?
Many questions still remain about the new technology, which is still being fine-tuned by developers. No cost-per-car estimate has been offered yet, but is anticipated to cost roughly what seat belts do (about $200 or less). It is also unclear whether the technology would be mandated by the government for all newly made cars. When asked about forcing car manufacturers to include the technology, Rosekind said he wasn't even sure if that would be necessary.
"There's not going to be a parent who isn't going to want this in their child's car," he told the press. "There's not going to be a business that's not going to want this in their vehicles."
If you have been charged with a DUI or a DUI-related offense, then I invite you to contact my firm, the Law Office of Mark W. Garka, PLLC today. As a former prosecutor, I know the challenges the accused face in these cases and how determine the weaknesses in the state's case against my clients.
It is possible to combat your DUI charges with confidence. Contact me today to put your case in the hands of a trusted Washington DUI defense attorney.