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New cars may soon start detecting alcohol abuse in its drivers

Drunk driving crashes are behind some 30 deaths every day in the U.S. To prevent drunk driving altogether, many automakers and safety experts are turning to technology. Georgia residents should know that a bill has been proposed that would make alcohol detection systems mandatory on all new vehicles by 2024. It's called the Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone Act of 2019.

If implemented, the bill would fund the research and development of a new alcohol detection system as well as establish a pilot program for testing. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration would collaborate with automakers, too, in this endeavor. Certain programs, one partially funded by NHTSA, are already experimenting with certain technologies, such as touch sensors and in-car cameras.

It's clear, though, that lawmakers are being spurred on by the example of ignition interlock devices, which are breathalyzers connected to the car's ignition system. These systems, which in some states are required on the vehicles of DUI offenders, will only start the car when drivers pass the breath test. Since 2006, IIDs have prevented over three million attempts by intoxicated drivers to start their car.

The bill has few details regarding the implementation of alcohol detection technology. It's uncertain, too, whether development teams will base their work on existing technologies like the IIDs.

Regardless of the bill's reception, drivers here and now have a duty to keep themselves and other road users safe. When alcohol abuse leads to motor vehicle accidents, then the responsible drivers will likely find themselves facing a claim. Victims, to see how strong their case is, might want to schedule a legal consultation. If retained, the lawyer may gather evidence against the driver through the help of crash investigators. Then, the lawyer might speak at the negotiation table or in the courtroom.

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