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New cars may soon detect alcohol on drivers’ breaths

Oklahoma residents may be wondering what is being done to curb drunk driving. The problem, it seems, is not a lack of awareness. Technological advances, though, have been made that are helping to prevent the intoxicated from operating their vehicle, and just recently, a bill was introduced in Congress that would require alcohol detection tech on all new cars by 2024.

Lawmakers were no doubt influenced by the success of systems like the ignition interlock device, a breathalyzer that connects to a car’s ignition and prevents the car from starting if the driver’s BAC exceeds the legal limit. Data from 11 ignition interlock manufacturers shows that the device has averted over three million attempts made by drunk drivers to start their car since 2006.

IIDs do not test drivers’ breath only at the start; after all, drivers may subsequently consume alcohol or initially have a sober passenger breathe into the device. Rather, IIDs require breath tests at regular intervals while the car is in motion. There can still be glitches, though, as IIDs can mistake drivers with mouthwash on their breath as being drunk.

The bill, called the Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone Act of 2019, would fund all research and development toward new alcohol detection tech. Development teams may or may not make use of existing tech.

Drunk driving is a serious form of negligence, and whenever it is behind car accidents, there is always the possibility of personal injury claims being filed and ending in large settlements. Besides suing for compensatory damages, which cover things like lost wages and medical bills, victims might sue for punitive damages, which are meant to punish defendants for their behavior. To see how strong their case is, victims may want to schedule a legal evaluation. The lawyer might assist in all negotiations.