New technology is in the process of development that could prevent drunk driving by detecting a driver’s blood alcohol content and preventing the car from starting if it is above .08 percent, which is the legal limit in North Carolina and all other states. Many hope that the technology will be made available as a safety feature in new vehicles once it is approved.
There are two designs being developed. One would test the driver’s breath while the driver breaths normally by measuring the number of alcohol molecules with an infrared light and comparing those to the number of carbon dioxide molecules. The other design would detect the driver’s BAC by shining an infrared light through the driver’s fingertip. Both would be able to detect the driver’s BAC in less than a second.
Drunk driving claims about 10,000 lives every year and causes many more serious injuries, so there is a lot of government support for this new feature. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimates that the new technology could prevent about 7,000 deaths per year. The technology could be especially effective for preventing accidents when aimed at certain populations, such as young drivers and commercial drivers.
Accidents caused by a drunk driver can result in devastating losses. Victims can incur lost wages, property damage, loss of future quality of life, pain and suffering and costly medical bills for acute care and rehabilitation. An attorney who has experience in personal injury litigation might examine the results of the accident investigation reports and other evidence to demonstrate negligence when pursuing a claim for damages on behalf of an injured victim.