Can automated alcohol detection software help prevent deaths from drunk driving accidents? The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) thinks so, and at the Center for Automotive Research’s (CAR) 2013 Management Briefing Seminar, NHTSA associate administrator for vehicle safety Nat Beuse explained why.
According to Beuse, the NHTSA is officially pursuing the development of alcohol detection technologies by partnering with auto industry product safety suppliers. At the seminar, Beuse did not offer details as to which suppliers the organization would be working with nor how the proposed software would work. What Beuse did explain, however, was the impact such technology may have on preventing auto accident fatalities due to drunken drivers.
Beuse pointed to the emergency braking systems that have been implemented on a mass scale to prevent or reduce collisions as an example of the benefits automated operating systems can provide. Because driver error is one of the biggest contributing factors in collisions, the NHTSA feels that automated systems may be the key to reducing deaths.
Vehicle fatalities in total have been declining in the United States over the last several decades, but still kill over 33,000 people a year and incur a cost estimated at $827 billion annually, Beuse said.
The proposal is still years away from implementation. As for the actual operation of such a device, questions remain as to what the result will be once alcohol is detected in a drivers system. Policymakers will need to determine whether the vehicle becomes disabled or if only an alert is sent to the driver to notify them that their BAC is too high. However, Beuse noted that alcohol detection software could be implemented on a mass scale as early as 2018.
Struggling with the aftermath of a drinking and driving accident can be extremely painful for the surviving family members. The personal injury lawyers at Goldberg Finnegan provides free case evaluations to those who wish to seek justice on behalf of a lost loved one.
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