Over the years, advances in technology have made VHS tapes, 8-tracks, and floppy discs obsolete. Even things like compact discs, which were a huge leap forward in digital music technology, are becoming difficult to find outside of a library. Can technology eventually make driving under the influence obsolete? New anti-drunk driving systems for automobiles may make DUIs a thing of the past.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the government agency which plays a large role in anti-DUI efforts in this country, such as helping to develop the standardized field sobriety tests now used across the nation. At a recent event, the NHTSA presented two prototype systems for detecting drunk drivers. Known as a Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS), the technology has been developed to detect a driver's blood alcohol content (BAC), and prevent operation for an over-the-limit driver.
The first system is a small device mounted on the steering wheel or side door which can detect the driver's breath, even without giving a breath sample. The second system is a touch sensor that is embedded either on the gear shift or ignition button that can san your finger to determine your BAC. With both systems, a positive BAC test over a certain limit will prevent the car from starting.
While the NHTSA is lauding the technology, others find the systems intrusive. The American Beverage Institute, a restaurant trade group, thinks the systems will more likely stop responsible drivers from starting their cars, even if they simply had a drink with dinner. The group is also opposing the NHTSA's efforts to have the BAC legal limit lowered to 0.05% from 0.08%.
These innovations are still years from being finalized. Even the NHTSA head Mark Rosekind believes the final product is still 5 to 8 years away. According to Rosekind, while there is still plenty of work to do, “DADSS has enormous potential to prevent drunk driving in specific populations such as teen drivers and commercial fleets, and making it an option available to vehicle owners would provide a powerful new tool in the battle against drunk driving deaths.”
California, along with many other states, already uses Ignition Interlock Devices (IID) for some people convicted of a DUI. However, this is a much more intrusive device, and requires a clean breath to start the car, and regular breaths to continue driving. While these are required for all drivers convicted of a DUI in Alameda County, as of yet, they are not required for all DUI offenders statewide.
At the Gorelick Law Offices, attorney Lynn Gorelick has dedicated her career to defending people charged with driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol in the East Bay. Lynn Gorelick has more than 30 years of DUI experience, and understands the laws and penalties involved. If you get pulled over for an East Bay DUI after a drink or two, don't let your arrest end in a conviction. You do not have to plead guilty just because you were arrested. Contact a local East Bay DUI defense attorney who understands local DUI cases, and will make sure you get the justice you deserve.