Drunk Drivers And In-Vehicle Technology

As Michigan car manufacturers continue to compete with in-vehicle technology to gain market share, federal officials are eyeing one innovation that aims to reduce the number of drunk drivers on the nation's highways. The Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) is a device that measures the amount of blood alcohol concentration in a driver's system and prevents the driver from operating a vehicle if his or her BAC is above .08.

DADSS is a joint project of the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety (ACTS) - an automotive trade group made up of car manufacturers in the United States and around the world. DADSS is currently being developed at QuinitiQ lab in Waltham, Massachusetts.

Similar to an ignition interlock device, DADSS prevents any legally intoxicated driver from operating his or her vehicle. Unlike the ignition interlock device, which is typically installed after-market and has a monthly maintenance cost, DADSS can be equipped on any new motor vehicle as an option and requires virtually no maintenance or upkeep.

The DADSS technology is designed to target drunk drivers with blood alcohol concentrations of .08 or above - this blood alcohol concentration makes it illegal to drive in all fifty states, including Michigan. The joint coalition of government and industry backers is specifically targeting drunk drivers at this blood alcohol concentration because it is illegal to drive in this condition and because most impaired drivers involved in fatal car accidents with BACs of .08 or higher are eight times more likely to have a previous drunk driving conviction on their driving records, according to NHTSA's statistics. Drunk drivers in this group also have a greater rate of other high-risk driving behaviors such as speeding convictions.

DADSS backers such as U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, NHTSA's Administrator David Strickland, and Mothers Against Drunk Driving president Laura Dean Mooney have hailed DADSS and similar technologies as live-saving devices that will prevent drunk drivers from operating their vehicles while intoxicated. LaHood, Strickland and Dean Mooney were on hand for a recent demonstration of a DADSS prototype at QuinitiQ lab.

Until DADSS and other in-vehicle technologies that combat drunk driving become standard on automobiles manufactured in the United States, drivers and their passengers still face the risk of a drunk driver accident each time they get in their cars.

If you or someone you love has been the victim of an accident involving an intoxicated driver in Ypsilanti or the surrounding areas, contact an experienced Michigan personal injury attorney.