Oct

31

Grandma Allegedly Commits DUI With Grandkids in Car

By Mike

The stereotypical drunk driver is usually young, often male, and is typically driving alone or with other people his age. Rarely are drunk drivers assumed to be mothers or, heaven forbid, grandmothers.

The truth, however, is that all sorts of people are arrested for drunk driving every day. And, while young males are arrested for DUIs more often than any other age bracket, they do not hold a monopoly on driving under the influence of alcohol.

This reality was recently on display in Lancaster, California, where a grandmother of three was arrested for allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol while she had three of her grandchildren in her car.

According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, 55-year-old Marie Shipley will soon make her first appearance in a Los Angeles County courtroom as she faces felony DUI charges for the disturbing incident.

Sources indicate that Shipley was arrested after driving drunk on a Monday afternoon while transporting three grandsons, aged 7, 11, and 13, from a local park.

While she was allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol, the boys began arguing, and at least one of her grandsons jumped out of the car while it was moving.

According to the police report from the incident, the boy who jumped out of the car attempted to re-enter the vehicle, but Shipley sped away, preventing him from getting back into the car. Eventually, Shipley slowed down and took the boy home after he started crying.

Shipley’s daughter later took the boy to the hospital, where he had treatment for minor injuries sustained during the incident.

While this episode seems laughable (despite its potentially severe consequences), incidents of elderly drunk driving are fairly commonplace. In addition, alcohol abuse by older Americans is often ignored and untreated.

As people age, they grow increasingly susceptible to the negative effects of alcohol. This increased sensitivity, combined with the natural loss of reflexes that occurs with aging, can sometimes have serious effects for older drivers.

While a driver may have been able to drive after a few glasses of wine in his or her younger days, that same amount of alcohol might render the person unable to drive responsibly in later years.

As the American population continues to grow older, incidents of drunk driving among older drivers may become more of a public hazard.

Of course, many drivers who operate a car under the influence of alcohol at least have the decency to leave children out of the car. And, if they do drive children, they usually don’t play games where the children are leaping in and out of a moving vehicle.

So, it seems safe to say that Shipley’s actions, while abhorrent, don’t represent typical behavior amongst older drivers.

Oct

26

Controversial Gun-Toting Lawmaker Arrested for DUI

By Mike

A few years ago, Curry Todd, a state representative in Tennessee, gained national notoriety for sponsoring a law that allowed people to carry handguns in bars and restaurants.

While this law seemed to be misguided to many observers, it did come with a key caveat: those carrying handguns could not drink alcohol while they were packing heat.

This important distinction, however, recently came into play when Todd himself was arrested for a DUI while he was carrying a loaded weapon.

According to an Associated Press report, police stopped Todd in his GMC Envoy and detected a strong odor of alcohol in his vehicle. Police said that Todd had bloodshot eyes and had difficulty speaking.

Todd refused to take a breathalyzer test, but he allegedly failed a roadside sobriety test administered by the arresting officers. The police report says that Todd claimed he only had two drinks before being arrested.

After his arrest, police search Todd’s car and discovered a loaded .38-caliber pistol in a holster resting between the driver’s seat and the center console of the car.

The discovery of the handgun was particularly troubling to the arresting officers, who said Todd was unable to stay on his feet and was “obviously very impaired and not in any condition to be carrying a loaded handgun.”

Predictably, critics of Todd’s handgun law have embraced the irony of his arrest. They have also claimed that Todd’s actions show the futility and inevitable danger of allowing bar patrons to carry handguns.

In his defense, Todd released a statement claiming that he was sorry for the incident, but he also refused to make any further public comments on the advice of his DUI lawyer.

Some observers are speculating that Todd’s days as a lawmaker are numbered, but Todd has shown no signs of leaving his legislative post.

He has, however, entertained the notion of stepping aside from his post as the chairman of the Tennessee legislature’s State and Local Governance Committee. Todd plans to announce his future intentions after meeting with the Republican leaders of the state legislature.

In addition to his sponsorship of the controversial handgun law, Todd gained national fame last year for fearing that illegal immigrants would “go out there like rats and multiply” if undocumented women were given publicly financed prenatal care for their children.

After the remark, Todd compounded the public’s anger by saying that, instead of the quip about rats, he simply meant to use the term “anchor babies,” which many see as an equally indelicate phrase.

Later, Todd would renounce both claims, and issued a formal public apology. Thus, while Todd’s lawmaking days may be short-lived, he at least has gained valuable practice in the art of the formal public apology.

Oct

24

Billionaire Wal-Mart Heiress Arrested for Another DUI

By Mike

After amassing a fortune by creating the Wal-Mart retailing juggernaut, Sam Walton left billions of dollars in inheritance money for his descendants. As a result of this massive inheritance, Walton’s relatives still remain in the spotlight, whether they like it or not.

One Walton heiress who recently captured the public’s attention is 62-year-old Alice Walton, who recently spent her birthday in a Texas jail after being arrested for driving while intoxicated.

According to the Mineral Wells Index, a Texas newspaper, Walton was stopped by police after committing a traffic violation while driving through a construction zone at night. Police arrested Walton for a DUI after she failed a field sobriety test.

During the incident, Walton had refused to take a breathalyzer test to determine her blood alcohol content, but the officers still arrested her based on her subpar performance in the sobriety test.

Local police told the newspaper that they intended to treat the billionaire heiress just like any other DUI offender, but critics noted that the police initially failed to put her mug shot on the police department’s website, which is the usual protocol.

After inquiries from local media sources, the police did post Walton’s mug shot, which shows a disappointed Walton in blue jailhouse garb.

In a statement released by her attorney, Walton admitted to driving 16 miles per hour over the speed limit while driving home from a birthday dinner at a restaurant in Fort Worth, Texas. The statement said Walton accepted “full responsibility” for the incident and that she “deeply regrets it.”

While a DUI arrest doesn’t usually receive much public attention, Walton’s arrest was noteworthy due to her fame and her prior criminal record.

Sources indicate that Walton had previously been arrested for a DUI in 1998 in Springdale, Arkansas. She was also involved in an accident in 1989 that resulted in the death of another driver.

Both of these driving incidents, however, did not result in a criminal conviction. In the DUI case, she simply paid a few hundred dollars in fines.

Walton undoubtedly regrets the attention she received for her arrest, but she is certainly a public figure given her estimated $21 billion net worth.

This healthy sum places her among the top 10 richest people in America, according to a study in Forbes magazine. The top 10 list also includes a few of her relatives. The Walton fortune is so large, it still creates obscenely wealthy individuals when divided in several parcels.

Members of the Walton family are considered royalty in their native Arkansas, where Walton founded the first Wal-Mart store decades ago.

The Waltons have donated millions of dollars to American and international charities, and still maintain some control over the business operations of the retailing giant.

Oct

21

Buffalo Bills Victory Celebration Leads to Multiple DUI Arrests

By Mike

This year’s NFL season has seen its share of surprises, from the mysterious struggles of the star-laden Philadelphia Eagles, to the notable absence of publicity-hogging stars like Terrell Owens and Brett Favre.

No development, however, has been more shocking than the sudden success of the Buffalo Bills, a team that has spent most of the past two decades rotting at the bottom of the AFC.

Unfortunately, the Bills’ success has not had a completely positive impact in Buffalo, as drunken revelers celebrating the team’s wins have led to a recent wave of DUI arrests in the Buffalo area.

The scene was particularly hairy for law enforcement officers after a recent Bills win over the Philadelphia Eagles, who were preseason favorites to win the Super Bowl.

According to a recent report at Buffalonews.com, Erie County sheriff’s deputies and Orland Park police officers had a field day after the big win, pulling over dozens of drivers and arresting at least seven motorists for driving while intoxicated.

And the police reports suggest that these were not run-of-the-mill DUI arrests, as many drivers took their post-game celebration far too seriously.

Sources allege that, while driving away from the stadium, one woman rammed her car into a police barricade; a man side-swiped a sheriff’s deputy’s car with his own vehicle; and another driver struck a pedestrian before running over a picnic table in a stadium parking lot.

In addition to the drunk driving arrests, police also issued 71 speeding tickets after the game, and 40 other tickets for various traffic infractions ranging from seat belt violations to child restraining tickets.

These traffic arrests occurred after police made 23 arrests at the Bills’ stadium during the game, for offenses such as harassment, trespassing, and disorderly conduct.

While these events may portray a stark picture of the NFL game day landscape, it is inevitable that the gathering of tens of thousands of fans, many of whom are enjoying adult beverages, will lead to a few arrests.

In fact, many NFL stadiums even have their own small jails to hold offenders until the end of the game.

If you live in an NFL city and enjoy drinking on game day, remember to be smart when you’re headed home, as police officers love to target postgame celebrations.

Avoid the costs and hassle of a DUI case by taking a taxi, using public transportation, or calling a sober friend for a ride.

Oct

20

Montana Law Requires Daily Sobriety Tests for DUI Offenders

By Mike

Montana is known for its beautiful scenery, wide open spaces, and strong advocacy of personal liberties. Most notably, the state is famous for having the largest per capita gun ownership rates in the United States.

However, despite this affinity for personal liberties, Montana recently passed a new DUI law that some observers are calling too strict.

According to the Billings (Mont.) Gazette, the new law requires DUI offenders to perform breath tests two times a day as they await trial for their drunk driving arrests.

The program, which is only active in Yellowstone County but will likely spread to other counties soon, is intended not only to keep alleged drunk drivers sober before their trial, but to deter potential drivers from getting behind the wheel drunk in the first place.

The article in the Billings Gazette focused on Toni Allison, who was recently arrested for a DUI. After she posted bond, she was able to leave jail, but she has to return two times each day to do a breathalyzer test.

If Allison fails one of these tests, under the terms of the new law, she will be arrested immediately and may face new criminal charges, as well as forfeiture of her bond.

The law, which is named the “24/7 Sobriety Program,” is patterned after a similar regulation passed in South Dakota. It gives Montana judges the discretion to order the daily BAC tests for DUI repeat offenders.

Defendants who are forced to take the daily tests are required to pay two dollars for each test. If they miss a scheduled test, prosecutors are free to issue a warrant for their arrest.

Officials recently tested the new program in Lewis and Clark County, and reported a 99 percent success rate. Other counties are considering adopting an electronic monitoring program, rather than the test-on-site method practiced in Yellowstone County.

While critics of the program claim it is needlessly invasive, legislators in Montana believe that the new law will deter drivers from driving drunk, and that the law is necessary to curtail a practice that is perceived as a major problem on the open roads of Montana.

Montana used to be known for its relaxed driving laws. It was one of the final U.S. states to implement a speed limit, and it used to wear its lack of speed limits as a badge of pride.

Now, however, Montana is following a national trend of cracking down on unsafe drivers, as more than 10,000 people still die in the United States each year as a result of drunk driving accidents.

So, while the new law may be a nuisance to people who are arrested for multiple DUIs, it may be a helpful tool in the fight against drunk driving. At the very least, it will ensure a temporary period of sobriety alleged DUI offenders.

Oct

18

California Places Limits on Police Power at DUI Checkpoints

By Mike

California often seems to be on the forefront of embracing new laws, and it recently flexed its innovation muscles with the enactment of a new DUI law.

Under legislation signed by Gov. Jerry Brown this week, police officers in California will no longer be able to impound cars from sober but unlicensed motorists who are stopped at drunk driving checkpoints.

While this seems like a logical decision, and a victory for sober drivers, one key constituency has the most to gain from the new law.

Apparently, police in California have been using drunk driving checkpoints as a cover in an effort to catch illegal immigrants, rather than people driving under the influence of alcohol.

Previously, California had a law which allowed police to impound cars that belonged to unlicensed drivers for up to 30 days.

After 30 days, however, the accrued impoundment fees can reach thousands of dollars. The high level of fees often caused the car to be worth less than the driver owed to the police, leading many drivers to simply relinquish the car.

Because of these extraordinary police powers, illegal immigrants who were unfairly targeted at drunk driving checkpoints often lost their vehicles, even if they were perfectly sober when they were driving.

These questionable police tactics raised the concern of Latino legislators in California, who joined together to pass the latest bill in the state legislature.

Under the new law, which was written by Assemblyman Gil Cedillo, a Democrat from Los Angeles, sober drivers who are caught at DUI checkpoints without a driver’s license do not immediately lose their car.

Instead, law enforcement officials are now required to release the car to a licensed driver representing the owner of the car.

In situations where a licensed driver cannot be found immediately after the driver is stopped at a checkpoint, police may take the car to an impoundment lot. However, the police must release the vehicle to a licensed driver whenever one appears.

It is Cedillo’s hope that the new California DUI law will prevent police from unfairly targeting illegal immigrants for driving without licenses at checkpoints that are allegedly designed to stop drunk drivers.

It should be noted, of course, that the law does nothing to limit the power of police to stop drunk drivers.

In fact, by eliminating the distraction of targeting illegal immigrants, the bill may also have the side benefit of funneling more police resources to targeting drunk driving, as police spend less time worrying about immigrants who are driving without licenses.

Oct

14

Leaking Fluid Trail Leads Police to Drunk Driver

By Mike

Because of the blinding influence of alcohol, drunk drivers attempting to elude the police often think they’re police-evading tactics are more clever than they actually are.

Common tactics include driving too slow or too fast, masking swerving by simply swerving really slow, or blaming red eyes and slow reflexes on a lack of sleep, or prescription pills.

The most infamous DUI offenders, though, are the people who cause car accidents, and then flee the scene out of fear of being caught driving under the influence of alcohol.

A man in Louisville recently learned just how difficult escaping the scene of a DUI accident can be.

According to WDRB News, which is based in Louisville, Kentucky, 37-year-old Jesse Gaines was arrested last week after police tracked his car by following the path of leaky fluids from Gaines’ wounded vehicle.

Before his arrest, Gaines had allegedly been involved in a three-car accident in downtown Louisville. The police report from the accident indicates that Gaines swerved into oncoming traffic and struck two cars before speeding back into the road and then striking a pole.

After the accident, Gaines fled the scene, which led to phone calls to Louisville about a drunk driver on the loose.

Officers did not have a hard time locating Gaines, as they simply followed the path of a leaking fluid that had started dripping from Gaines’ car at the scene of the accident.

When Gaines was finally arrested by the police, he admitted that he had just left a strip club where he had consumed two “large liquor drinks.”

The police report also claims that Gaines smelled of alcohol, had red eyes, and was unable to stand without falling down. When the police administered a breathalyzer test, Gaines blew a remarkable .26, which is far above the legal limit of .08.

After his less-than-sterling performance on the blood alcohol test, Gaines was promptly arrested and charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol.

To add insult to injury, Gaines was also charged with a failure to maintain insurance. This, of course, will be disappointing news to the other drivers whose cars were struck by Gaines during his ill-fated drive.

While Gaines faces a world of legal trouble, it’s worth noting that DUI arrests can be serious crimes even in the absence of an actual accident.

A DUI arrest often leads to jail time, a suspended license, and hefty fines. Because of the potentially severe impact of DUI charges, many people who are arrested seek legal information from a local DUI lawyer.

Courts take DUI arrests very seriously, but with the proper legal information, people who are arrested are able to deal with the charges with minimal damages to their finances and their reputation.

Oct

12

DUI Crash Kills Young Vermont Student

By Mike

When drinking and driving converge, the results can be disastrous. And, while they are difficult to predict, drunk driving accidents often seem to claim the lives of tragically young victims.

This harsh reality happened once again after a recent fatal car accident in Northfield, Vermont, that was allegedly caused by drunk driving.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, 18-year-old Renee Robbins died after a car containing eight Norwich University students crashed in a single car accident.

The car was being driven by 22-year-old Derek Saber, who was arrested by local police under suspicion of a DUI shortly after the accident.

In addition to Robbins’ death, three other people in the car suffered “critical” injuries during the accident. Four other students required hospitalization after the crash.

Before the accident, the eight occupants of the car had been at an off-campus party early Sunday morning. The passengers were all freshmen students at Norwich, and they lived in the same dormitory on campus.

The incident had a severe impact on the campus’s collective psyche, and many members of the campus community are grappling for answers.

According to Norwich President Richard Schneider, the incident was “an unfathomable tragedy,” and “the entire Norwich family is grieving over this.”

While the families of the accident victims face their own pains, the driver of the car and the leader of the party the students left before the accident are facing legal troubles of their own.

The driver, Derek Saber, allegedly had a blood alcohol level of .16, which doubled the legal limit of .08. He was arrested and held on $100,000 bail in a county jail in Vermont.

In addition to Saber’s legal troubles, 20-year-old Logan O’Neill, who hosted the party, was charged with various counts including possession of alcohol, enabling consumption of alcohol with a minor, and violating the terms of his release, stemming from a prior DUI charge of his own.

At the time of the party, O’Neill was under strict orders to avoid consuming alcohol due to the conditions established by a court after his second drunk driving arrest earlier this year.

Drunk driving accidents are one of the most common causes of teenage deaths in the United States. This statistic is particularly troubling in light of the fact that drunk driving accidents are completely preventable.

Oct

10

Study Shows Large Decrease in Drunk Driving Incidents

By Mike

A recent poll conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed a remarkable decline in self-reported incidents of drunk driving.

According to an article from the Associated Press, episodes of drunk driving are at their lowest numbers since 1993, and have fallen more than 30 percent in the last five years.

Experts suggest that the decreasing frequency of drunk driving incidents may not be a result of a collective desire to drive more safely.

Instead, some observers speculate that the struggling economy has led many people to stay at home and drink for cheap, rather than paying premium prices at a bar. With more people staying away from bars, there are fewer drinkers driving home.

The CDC statistics, which were compiled by surveying more than 200,000 Americans on the phone, showed that roughly two percent of all Americans admitted to driving under the influence of alcohol in the previous month.

While the two percent seems like a low figure, it still represents about four million drunk drivers on the roads in any given month.

Of this two percent, roughly 60 percent admitted to driving drunk just once in the last month, but a healthy percentage of respondents claimed to have driven drunk multiple times in the last few weeks.

By expanding these monthly figures to an annual estimate, the CDC guessed that there were 112 million individual episodes of drunk driving in 2010.

In other words, there are roughly 300,000 people who are driving under the influence of alcohol on a typical day in the United States.

While these numbers seem discouraging, they represent a significant decrease from past numbers. Take, for example, 1993, when more than 160 million people admitted to driving drunk during that calendar year.

Of course, while overall drunk driving figures are down, some populations remain more apt to drive drunk than others.

According to the poll, men between the ages of 21 and 34 were more likely than any other demographic to drive drunk.

While men between 21 and 34 only account for 11 percent of the country’s population, they are responsible for 32 percent of all drunk driving incidents.

Of course, not every drunk driver is arrested for a DUI. In fact, only a small percentage of drunk drivers will ever be arrested for their actions.

Nevertheless, the relatively low odds of being arrested for a DUI should not prevent people from finding designated drivers, or simply taking a cab.

Drunk driving still causes tens of thousands of traffic fatalities each year. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drunk driving accidents still claim an American’s life every 48 minutes.

So, while drunk driving is becoming less popular, it remains a serious concern for innocent people on American roads.

Oct

6

Pennsylvania Town Introduces DUI-Detecting Flashlights

By Mike

The trauma induced by a police officer shining a flashlight directly into a motorist’s eyes during a traffic stop may be one of the most indelible memories of an encounter with the police.

However, while the flashlight-in-the-eyes gambit can burn the retinas, it rarely helps police detect whether a driver has committed a crime.

A new toy for public safety officers, though, could help law enforcement officials use flashlights to detect whether someone is driving under the influence of alcohol.

And this new device isn’t a product of science fiction. It’s being deployed in cities near you.

According to StateCollege.com, police in State College, Pennsylvania, recently received a fresh shipment of the flashlights that can apparently detect whether someone has been driving drunk.

The spaced-aged flashlights, which cost around $700 apiece, were given to the State College police department as part of long-term, federally funded research project aimed at studying the effectiveness of DUI-fighting tools.

The flashlights, which are called “passive alcohol sensors,” look to be normal illuminating devices, but when they are placed within a foot of a driver’s nose, they can detect whether the driver has been drinking lightly, moderately, heavily, or not at all.

Lights on the end of the devise indicate whether the motorist should be given further tests to determine his or her level of inebriation.

Since the flashlights are less than precise, they cannot be used as the sole basis for an arrest. However, they can help police officers determine whether further testing is needed to gauge a person’s blood alcohol content.

According to one study, the percentage of drunk drivers detected at a traffic stop using the sci-fi flashlights was 71 percent, which represented a large increase over the 55 percent of drunk drivers detected using more traditional methods.

While the flashlights may seem invasive, the police do not intend to use them secretly. State College police plan to use an advertising campaign to alert drivers to the presence of the new machines.

Of course, in an interview, one officer remarked that most drivers would not be told the flashlight was used during a traffic stop until after an arrest.

Some critics are concerned that the devises could be used outside of traffic stops. Police, however, promise that they do not intend to use the flashlights for, say, pedestrian checkpoints.

Nevertheless, State College police claim that they may also use the flashlights in the event of an open container violation, or a medical emergency.

In defense of the new technology, law enforcement officials say that the device traditionally used as an initial DUI detector—the human nose—is far less reliable.

By introducing a more objective initial test to determine the presence of alcohol, police say the new flashlights may ultimately prove more trustworthy than an individual officer’s arbitrary sense of smell.

Oct

3

Man Settles Lawsuit Against Illinois City After Bogus DUI Arrest

By Mike

A nightmare scenario for an Illinois man was recently resolved when he won a settlement against the city of Naperville after being falsely arrested for DUI.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, David Briddle was driving his Mercedes sedan on May 30 when police pulled him over and arrested him for driving under the influence of alcohol.

After his arrest, though, Briddle took a blood alcohol test and passed with flying colors, registering a 0.0 during the breathalyzer test.

Briddle’s sterling performance on the BAC test, however, was not the end of the story. Despite the exonerating evidence, and the fact that police released him without charges, Naperville police still announced Briddle’s arrest on the police blotter.

As a result, Briddle’s mug shot and a story detailing his arrest were published in a local newspaper, despite the fact that Briddle had not actually committed a crime.

Even though the Naperville police made a mistake, they claim that had a valid reason to arrest Briddle.

According to the police report from the incident, Briddle admitted to having four or five beers before starting his car, and allegedly failed a field sobriety test, though Briddle disputed this in his lawsuit.

Briddle’s lawsuit, filed with the aid of his DUI lawyer, accuses Naperville police of regularly inflating their drunk driving arrest statistics. Briddle claims that his unfortunate incident was part of a pattern of unlawful behavior by the police department.

This claim will not be addressed in court, as Briddle settled with the city for $10,000 before proceeding to trial, but it does raise questions about the Naperville police department.

In his lawsuit, Briddle observed that Naperville ranked second in Illinois cities (other than Chicago) for DUI arrests. Briddle also claimed that Naperville police officials inflate the city’s DUI arrests to provide more revenue and recognition for the city.

Despite Briddle’s allegations, a study performed by the Chicago Sun-Times suggests that Briddle’s misfortune may have been an isolated incident.

Arrest reports obtained from the Naperville police for last Memorial Day weekend show that the majority of drivers pulled over by local police had blood alcohol levels above the legal limit. This suggests that Naperville police weren’t indiscriminately arresting people for false DUIs.

Accusations of profit-seeking are often leveled against police for enforcing speeding limits and drunk driving laws, but if drivers are violating these laws, police have every right to pull them over.

The difficulties inherent in proving systematic discrimination or arbitrary arrests by police likely led Briddle to accept a settlement in this case.

While false DUI arrests undoubtedly occur, they are not usually the norm. It is more common for DUI arrests to be rendered invalid due to sloppy police work, or the failure of the arresting officers to abide by procedural regulations.

Oct

3

New DUI Technology Measures Blood Alcohol Levels Through Skin

By Mike

Police have long loathed traditional breathalyzer tests for the same reason that doctors tired of oral thermometers—sticking objects into the human mouth requires worrying about sanitation and discarding used devices.

Of course, the alternative to a roadside breath test, which requires using a needle to extract blood from a DUI suspect, is even more invasive and raises more serious health concerns.

In response to the disadvantages posed by these methods, two companies are developing a device that check drivers’ blood alcohol levels by simply touching their skin.

According to an article in USA Today, Takata, a Japanese company with a U.S. office in Michigan, and TruTouch a New Mexico-based corporation, are trying to make touch devices commercially viable using a $2 million grant from the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety.

In its current stage of development, the device, which is roughly the size of a breadbox, uses an infrared sensor to determine whether a driver is intoxicated.

Eventually, the company plans to scale the device down so it becomes small enough to place on a car’s start button, preventing would-be drunk drivers from ever firing up the engine.

The companies plan to sell the device for roughly $200, and with the goal of having the touch button replace the cumbersome ignition interlock device that DUI offenders sometimes have to use before starting their cars.

The companies say the device may even be hidden, or unknown to drivers, which will likely raise concerns from advocates worried about preserving personal liberties.

Despite the potential for such disputes, experts say most drivers will have to voluntarily agree to the installation of the device, and it will certainly be easier than having to repeatedly blow into a tube, provided that the technology actually works.

While the two companies are optimistic about the device’s commercial readiness, there remain a few hurdles to make the tool more sturdy and reliable.

With the grant money, the companies are looking to reduce the tool’s processing time from several seconds to just a few hundred milliseconds. In addition, the tool only works at room temperature in its current condition, so scientists are working to modify it for operation in more extreme temperatures.

There is increasing demand for better-designed blood alcohol tests in the United States, which saw almost 11,000 people die in drunk driving accidents in 2009 alone.

According to sources, deaths caused by drunk driving account for almost a third of all driving fatalities each year.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has praised the work of Takata and TruTouch, claiming in a statement that the new technology signals a “new frontier in in the fight against drunk driving.”

A program director for the Driver Alcohol Detention System for Safety, Susan Ferguson, believes that this frontier will soon be breached.

By her estimation, the touch-activated device will be on the market within the next 10 years.