Drinking and driving is a universal problem and many are searching for solutions.
Although most people start out with good intentions, one drink leads to another. Before you know it, you hit the brick wall and attempt to figure out how the night took a turn for the worse.
You go back and forth questioning your ability to drive and many times, unfortunately, the wrong choice is made. You start the car increasing your chances of committing a DUI offense and worse endangering yourself or others on the road.
But what if there was technology that could decide for you? What if it could tell that your blood alcohol level was over the limit? What if it would not let you start your vehicle to drive home?
For example, if a driver drinks way too much past the predetermined limit, then an ignition interlock will not start the vehicle.
These are usually placed in the vehicles of convicted impaired drivers and commercial vehicles to promote safe driving.
But we are jumping into the future and the realizations that the dangers of drinking and driving affect everyone on the roads. We live in a world where alcohol is a part of everyday life and when mixed with driving can be a deadly and costly combination.
A company in Canada called Alcohol Countermeasure System Corp is investing $18 million in the “next generation” of alcohol-sensing technology. They hope to commercialize this product to combat future drinking and driving.
Some countries have started putting these devises in public buses, school buses and taxis to prevent anyone caring passengers from getting behind the wheel while intoxicated.
Volvos are being built with alcohol sensors and will be sold throughout North America. This way if you decide to get into your car and you’ve had one too many, then your car won’t start – saving you from making the wrong decision.
These devices will no longer be just a form of punishment but of method of teaching drivers to not drink and drive.
Unfortunately in some situations we can’t judge for ourselves. Hopefully modern technology can help stop not only our generation but future ones from getting a DUI offense and worse.
The Arizona Legislature may be backtracking on its new law mandating ignition interlocks for all drivers convicted of DUI. Governor Janet Napolitano signed Arizona’s interlock law during the current legislative session.
The DUI law has yet to even take effect. Now the Arizona House of Representatives has given preliminary approval to a bill to repeal the interlock requirement. The Senate may not agree to a repeal, but could allow modifications to the law.
Currently, Arizona’s pending DUI laws require all people with a first DUI offense to install and use an ignition interlock for one year. Compromise between the state Senate and House may result in a shorter time period or only requiring the interlock for drivers with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of 0.10 percent or more. Arizona’s BAC limit for DUI is 0.08 percent.
The interlock law is set to take effect 90 days after the current legislative session ends. Regardless of whether and how the legislature and the governor amend Arizona’s pending law, interlocks will still be mandated for repeat and extreme DUI offenders.
If New York Assemblyman Felix Ortiz has his way, the state will soon require alcohol-detecting ignition interlock devices on all cars and trucks.
Several states have or are considering provisions that require ignition interlock devices for those with a DUI conviction, but New York would be the first state to require the devices on every vehicle.
The issue is far from settled, with vocal advocates on both sides: civil liberties groups argue that the inconvenience to the large percentage of adults who don’t drink at all is unwarranted, and raise questions about exactly where the line would be drawn. Current ignition interlock devices won’t allow a car to start if there is any trace of alcohol detected.
But MADD and others committed to reducing drunk driving point out that ignition interlocks are the only sure way to prevent DUI, and a former National Transportation Safety Board Official is lobbying automakers to include the wiring for ignition interlocks in all cars, so they’ll be easier to install.
The success or failure of the New York bill will undoubtedly have long-term effects beyond the borders of that state, so its progress is worth watching no matter where you live.