Breakthrough Could Wipe Out Drunk Driving in 5 Years

This could be as important as seat belts, NHTSA says
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 5, 2015 5:11 AM CDT

Advances in detection technology brought in after 9/11 could bring an end to something that kills a lot more Americans every year than war or terrorism: drunk driving. In a technological advance that supporters say could be as important as seat belts, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has rolled out a prototype vehicle with alcohol-detecting breath sensors and touch points that stop drivers over the legal alcohol limit from operating it, the Detroit News reports. NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind says the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety—DADSS—is a "huge step forward" that could be up and running by 2020. The system has been in the works since 2008.

Rosekind says that as long as DADSS can be made instant and foolproof, the public—especially parents and operators of commercial fleets—will wonder how they lived without it, the News reports. The advances that made it possible are a result of improved bomb detection systems after 9/11, reports the Washington Post, which notes that although drunk-driving deaths have halved over the last 30 years, there were still more than 10,000 in 2013. Not in favor: the American Beverage Institute. The industry group says DADSS will "stop many responsible social drinkers who have a glass of wine with dinner from starting their cars"—and is pretty skeptical of claims that the system will be voluntary. (Read more drunk driving stories.)

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