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Mark Bello
Mark Bello
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Alcohol Detection System: Paving A Way to Safer Roads

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Today, the US Department of Transportation will present recent advancements in technology that would reduce alcohol-impaired accidents, as well as outline future developments. Among those making remarks today is Mark Rosekind of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Although there has been substantial progress since the 1980s in reducing alcohol-related auto accidents, even the most concerted efforts have not prevented thousands of lives from being lost each year. According to NHTSA, more than 10,000 people were killed in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes in 2013, accounting for 31 percent of the total motor vehicle traffic fatalities.

Among the methods used to combat drunk driving is mandating a person convicted of driving under the influence/driving while intoxicated to install an ignition interlock device (“IID”) (also known as a zero-BAC interlock) in his/her vehicle as a condition of restoring driving privileges. An IID prevents a person from starting the vehicle if a certain amount of alcohol is detected in the bloodstream. However, it is estimated that before one person is convicted with a DUI, they would have already driven drunk an average of 80 times.

A study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, indicated that if all drivers with at least one alcohol-impaired driving conviction had used zero-BAC interlocks, approximately 1,100 deaths, or about 10 percent of fatalities associated with alcohol-impaired drivers, could be prevented every year. What if the technology could be applied to all drivers; how many more lives could be saved?

While some may think that this is too much “big brother,” the risks when alcohol and driving mix are clear. Isn’t it far better to prevent a drunk driver from seriously injuring or killing someone than waiting for an individual to be convicted of a DUI? Isn’t it a small price to pay for your life or the life of a loved one?

What do you think? In an effort to curtail drunk driving, should there be a mandate that all vehicles be installed with an alcohol detection system? Why or why not?

Mark Bello is the CEO and General Counsel of Lawsuit Financial Corporation, a pro-justice lawsuit funding company.