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Mark Bello
Mark Bello
Attorney • (877) 377-7848

Driver Alcohol Detection Systems for Safety

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“Drunk driving continues to be a national tragedy that needlessly claims the lives of thousands of people on our highways each year,” said Secretary of Transportation, Ray LaHood. “We need to put an end to it.”

The DOT is ramping up their push against drunk driving. The group recently outlined plans for new alcohol-detection technologies and plans to integrate them into vehicles in eight to ten years. While still in the developmental stages, Driver Alcohol Detection Systems for Safety (DADSS) is seen as a potential tool for keeping drunk drivers from being able operate their car if their blood alcohol concentration is at or above the legal intoxication limit (.08 BAC).

The new system would keep impaired drivers off the road by detecting their blood alcohol content through two potential methods. It could analyze the driver’s breath or the skin through touch-based sensors. The touch-based system called "tissue spectrometry," would sense blood-alcohol concentration. “Distant spectrometry" would detect alcohol on the driver’s breath. This touch system would be on locations in the car, such as the steering wheel and door locks. If the system detects blood alcohol content above the legal limit, the vehicle will be disabled, and it will not start.

This new technology is being developed at QinetiQ North America, a lab in Waltham, MA. The project has made substantial progress and this technology could one day be an important step in our efforts to eliminate drunk driving. Although the cost per vehicle is unknown at this time, the NHTSA said that is definitely worth it. In 2009, 10,839 people died nationwide in crashes involving a drunk driver, making up 32 percent of all fatal crashes. They believe the system could help prevent 9,000 alcohol-related traffic fatalities every year. The long-term goal is to equip all vehicles with this technology.

“Whatever the future holds for these advanced drunk driving prevention technologies, one thing remains clear; no technology can, or should, ever replace a driver’s personal responsibility not to drive drunk,” said NHTSA Administrator, David Strickland.

Mark Bello has thirty-three years experience as a trial lawyer and twelve years as an underwriter and situational analyst in the lawsuit funding industry. He is the owner and founder of Lawsuit Financial Corporation which helps provide legal finance cash flow solutions and consulting when necessities of life litigation funding is needed by plaintiffs involved in pending, personal injury litigation. Bello is a Justice Pac member of the American Association for Justice, Sustaining and Justice Pac member of the Michigan Association for Justice, Business Associate of the Florida, Tennessee, and Colorado Associations for Justice, a member of the American Bar Association as well as their ABA Advisory Committee, the State Bar of Michigan and the Injury Board.