Each year in the U.S., about 10,000 people die in drunk driving accidents, according to the NHTSA. In an effort to put a dent in this startling number of completely preventable deaths, Congress is making a push with an anti-drunk driving provision for new cars in its infrastructure bill. The proposed legislation, if passed, will require automakers to include technology that detects and stops drunk drivers in motor vehicles by as early as 2026. As a personal injury lawyer in Providence, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts for over two decades, Attorney David Tapalian has seen the devastation families suffer when a loved one is injured or killed by a drunk driver.
How Can Vehicle Technology Prevent Drunk Driving Accidents?
With an infinite number of safety options available in today’s newest vehicles, from sensors and cameras that detect pedestrians to approaching cars in a motorist’s blind spot, it seems logical that some type of anti-drunk driving technology would be an addition to the large menu of options. Yet, the critical question remains of exactly how to prevent drunk driving crashes with the latest in technology. The proposed bill isn’t exact, but calls for something that will “passively monitor the performance of a driver of a motor vehicle to accurately identify whether that driver may be impaired”. Studies will need to be conducted involving various alcohol detection systems before recommendations are provided to auto manufacturers. Infrared cameras are one example, and are currently being utilized by car manufacturers like GM and Nissan. The camera looks for signs of a lack of driver alertness, such as drowsiness or impairment, and if identified, warns the driver and if need be, takes further action. Another idea tested by Volvo involves alcohol sensors that detect a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) by measuring the air inside the vehicle. Ultimately, the Department of Transportation will have to make the final call as to what is the best solution to put a damper on intoxicated drivers.
Car Safety Measures in Infrastructure Bill
The issue of drunk driving is clearly a critical one and has been for decades, with approximately 30% of traffic deaths involving an intoxicated motorist. A 2020 report by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) predicted built-in anti-drunk driving technology in vehicles could prevent over a quarter of the traffic fatalities in the U.S. each year.
Other motor vehicle safety provisions proposed in the infrastructure bill include emergency braking systems and technology that can alert parents and caregivers to children left in the backseat, to avoid the potential tragedy of a child being left in a hot car. It’s unclear how, or when, these mandates will take place, but they are seen by many as a positive move in the right direction towards preventing drunk driving crashes as well as injuries and needless fatalities from other types of auto accidents.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer if You’ve Been Hurt in an Auto Accident
If you, or a loved one, have been injured in a drunk driving car accident in RI or MA, it’s critical to take legal action immediately. Contact a personal injury attorney experienced with the drunk driving laws of Rhode Island and Massachusetts. Attorney David Tapalian has been helping victims of crashes caused by negligent motorists for over 20 years and can help you protect your legal rights after getting hit by a reckless drunk driver. You may be eligible to file a personal injury claim to seek damages for your injuries, medical expenses, lost wages, car repairs, pain and suffering and more. Tapalian Law always offers a free consultation and we are available at all hours, including nights and weekends, to discuss your car accident case. Speak to Attorney Tapalian today by calling our Providence RI office at 401-552-5000, or contact us online to schedule your free case review.