Reducing drunk driving is a priority for numerous parties, from carmakers to lawmakers. Now, the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety (ACTS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are working to develop in-vehicle technology to curb drunk driving.
Assessing alcohol-detection technologies
This program is the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety, or DADSS. It consists of three phases of researching and analyzing touch-based and breath-based measures that detect and measure alcohol.
- In the first phase, the research focused on examining the speed, accuracy and precision of these methods.
- The second phase involves testing performance specifications and prototypes.
- Additional phases will refine the technology and assess how users interact with it.
The program aims to eventually result in widespread use and installation of in-vehicle technology to prevent alcohol-impaired driving. However, some obstacles could prevent this.
One concern, for instance, centers on the accuracy of the technologies. If the systems cannot precisely and consistently measure BAC, they could prevent sober drivers from operating their vehicles.
Further, systems could ultimately create more problems if they take too much time or are difficult to use. Under these circumstances, parties may decide not to use them or put them in their vehicles.
If the DADSS program cannot meet exceptionally high standards, it may not move forward.
What does this mean for drivers today?
The program is still in the early research phases, which means that nothing is changing in the immediate future.
However, once the research and testing phases are complete, it is possible that there could be easier, faster systems to inform drivers and keep them from operating vehicles if they are intoxicated. Researchers believe the technology could save thousands of lives.
In the meantime, California drivers can expect continued efforts by law enforcement agencies to use arrests and criminal charges against those who drive while intoxicated.