My mom was killed by a drunk driver in 1996 – 15 years ago this month. She crashed head-on with a drunk driver who was traveling on the wrong side of the interstate. Both my mom and the other driver were killed instantly. I was relieved to know she died instantly, because her truck then flipped and burst into flames. She would have been unable to escape. Needless to say, I am always interested to see new laws and technology to prevent these disasters from happening. Stronger laws, better enforcements and more public awareness has been credited to a 20 percent decline in drunk driving-related fatalities in just the last three years (40 percent in the last three decades), but it is exciting to see prevention being taken a step further – inside vehicles.
U.S. Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood and National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator David Strickland announced new technology being developed by QinetiQ which can register blood alcohol levels by touch or breath. The system, called DADSS, can prevent a vehicle from being started if it detects too much alcohol. While the system isn’t expected to be in the marketplace for another eight to ten years, it is great to see this progress. There may be a day where every car is equipped with a device like this, and if it stops drunk driving I am happy to see it on the horizon.