While partying and having a good time is not a criminal offense, getting behind the wheel of a car after you've had too much to drink is. It seems like a no-brainer to not drive when you are under the influence, but alcohol lowers inhibitions and may make it easier to make bad choices you wouldn't have normally made. Scientists, law enforcement officers and lawmakers are constantly on the lookout for ways to protect the public from those who would drive drunk, and one technology has taken shape, hoping to provide solid results.
Is drunk driving really a problem?
It is not just the drivers who are affected when they make the choice to get behind the wheel. Driving under the influence also puts other drivers, passengers and pedestrians at serious risk, and may even lead to injury or death.
In 2014 alone, almost 10,000 people were killed due to crashes caused by drivers impaired by alcohol. This means that over 1/3 of traffic related fatalities were tied back to drunk driving. This sobering statistic highlights the fact that technology is greatly needed in the fight to stop drunk driving, as humans alone are unable to combat the problem completely.
How cars may help
The United States government has put funding into creating cutting-edge approaches that may save lives by disabling a car when a person tries to drive under the influence. Such technology works in two different ways:
- Touch: Using an infrared light scanner to test under the surface of the skin for alcohol levels, this method would require drivers to touch a designated spot on the car before it would start.
- Breath: This system uses the driver's breath to measure blood alcohol levels. Drivers may not even be aware that they are being monitored with sensors that are mounted in front of them.
The research began in 2008 with a goal to completely cure drunk driving through technology. While the system may not be required in all cars, it may be an optional safety feature that provides an extra check for drivers who plan to drink and want to stop themselves from driving drunk. This technology allows for drivers to check their blood alcohol levels with little inconvenience, meaning it is more likely to be used. The focus of the research is speed of measurement, accuracy and precision.
Driving while under the influence may have serious consequences even if no accident or injury is involved. If you have been accused of driving drunk and want to know what options you have to protect your future, you may benefit from speaking to an attorney with any questions you have.