Technology Efforts to Curb Drunk Driving Crashes in RI & Beyond

m_Toast_-_Cheers_-_Drinking_-_Liquor_-_Hand_Raising_Glass_-_On_Parchment-300x182In 2019, 44% of motor vehicle fatalities in Rhode Island were attributed to drunk driving, according to the NHTSA. Further, over 10,000 drunk driving related fatalities occurred in the U.S. the same year. Clearly, this is a huge concern for drivers in Rhode Island and all over the country. As a personal injury lawyer in Providence, Attorney David Tapalian sees the dangerous outcomes when an intoxicated driver gets behind the wheel. For over 20 years, David has been helping people hurt in drunk driving car accidents in RI, MA, and FL, and knows the severe injuries and senseless deaths that occur to innocent victims all too often.

In an effort to prevent or limit these tragic crashes, the huge infrastructure bill passed by Congress includes a mandate, discussed in a recent Rhode Island Accident Lawyer Blog, requiring all new motor vehicles to come equipped with advanced technology to thwart impaired driving. By monitoring a drivers’ blood alcohol level (BAC), the technology would determine if the driver is impaired or not and potentially prevent their ability to operate the vehicle.

How the Technology Works

The system works by detecting the presence of alcohol through a person’s breath or finger. If the blood alcohol level presents above the legal level, the car will still turn on, but won’t allow the person to drive.  One company working on this technology is KEA Technologies in Massachusetts where the systems are being tested extensively. By using human subjects in controlled environments, some under the influence of alcohol and others sober, they are able to work on differentiating between the BAC of a driver versus a passenger.

This differentiation is one concern held by those who question the effectiveness of impaired driving technology. Some are concerned about “false positives”, like the Executive Director of the ACLU, and the accuracy of the test to determine the difference between, for example, a sober driver and a drunk passenger, or vice versa.

To address apprehension about the cost, the President and CEO of KEA states the technology will be mass produced and therefore will scale down the cost. To others who fear for the privacy of their data, he feels this will be included in the auto manufacturer’s general policy which encompasses the privacy of other forms of in-vehicle data.

RI Drunk Driving Crashes

Paula Whitford, a Rhode Island mother who lost her son in a drunk driving accident in East Greenwich, supports the legislation. However, she has concerns about older vehicles without the technology still being able to operate at the hands of a drunk driver and potentially injure people. “Not everybody is going to be able to afford those cars”, she said, referring to new cars with the latest technology. She also supports higher penalties for those responsible for drunk driving crashes, like the one that killed her son.

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney After Your Car Accident

If you or a loved one have been hurt in a drunk driving car accident in Providence, Rhode Island, Seekonk, Massachusetts, or elsewhere in RI, MA, or FL, seek legal help right away. As an experienced Providence injury lawyer, Attorney Tapalian has the knowledge and resources to help you after a devastating injury caused by the fault of another person. If the person responsible for your injuries is found negligent, you may be awarded money for your medical costs, lost wages, property damages, and pain and suffering.

When you lose a beloved family member due to another’s negligence, certain members of the family may be eligible to seek compensation by filing a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death lawsuit in Rhode Island can allow certain family members of the deceased to be compensated for funeral and burial expenses, as well as other types of hardship such as a loss of companionship. Tapalian Law offers a free consultation and our personal injury firm receives no money from you until you receive compensation for your claim. Call our Rhode Island injury team at 401-552-5000, or contact us online to discuss your claim today.

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