Drunk driving is one of the leading causes of fatal car accidents, and the U.S. Department of Transportation has a standing interest in reducing its frequency. A fatal accident caused by a drunk driver can result in serious injuries and deaths, as well as criminal and civil lawsuits with their attendant costs to individuals and society. New technology that was recently unveiled is being hailed by officials as a means of preventing this on par with education and enforcement efforts.
The two new devices have the same premise as the wheel-lock breathalyzer, but they function passively by not requiring driver action. Sensors are capable of detecting the blood alcohol concentration of drivers before they leave the parking lot or driveway. One of the devices detects BAC through the driver's normal breathing, while the other measures BAC through the driver's fingertips.
Officials did not state a specific release date, but there were mentions that the technology would be particularly helpful for commercial fleets and teenage drivers. The reduced risk of an accident caused by a drunk driver could result in 7,000 fewer fatalities per year, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
The reduction of drunk drivers on the road has the potential to prevent many accidents, serious injuries and deaths each year, but there is as yet no silver bullet for negligence behind the wheel. A momentary lapse of attention can quickly result in injuries to others, with the resulting high medical bills and lost wages. Those who have been injured in an accident caused by an impaired or distracted driver may want to speak to a personal injury attorney to learn about the options that may be available.