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Anti-DUI Technology Could Come Standard in Future Cars - Blue Bell, PA DUI Lawyer

Automakers have received funding under the federal transportation bill for research devoted to standard safety features that would prevent drunk driving. One specific objective of the Senate-sponsored research is to determine whether it would be feasible to require alcohol-sensing technology as standard equipment in all future cars.
Current DUI statistics reveal that drunk drivers are involved in nearly one-third of traffic deaths in the United States, killing 11,000 people each year. Increased DUI penalties and preventative measures are consistently up for debate across the country and within Pennsylvania. Last year, the PA legislature debated a proposed PA DUI bill that would require all DUI offenders, including first-time offenders, to install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles. Current PA DUI penalties require an ignition interlock for repeat DUI offenders only.

What is an ignition interlock?

An ignition interlock is a breath test device that is designed to prevent a vehicle from being driven by a drunk driver. When a convicted DUI offender attempts to start the car, he or she must first blow into the device, which is linked to the car’s ignition system. The car will not start unless the driver’s BAC is below the legal limit.

Automakers Receive Funding for Anti-DUI Research

Automakers have received funding under the federal transportation bill for research devoted to standard safety features that would prevent drunk driving. One specific objective of the Senate-sponsored research is to determine whether it would be feasible to require alcohol-sensing technology as standard equipment in all future cars.

One goal of the research program is to explore technologies that are less intrusive than the current ignition interlock devices we have here in Pennsylvania. Two promising developments are tissue spectrometry, which involves a touch pad and lasers to detect alcohol in human tissue, and distant spectrometry, which involves sensors installed throughout the car to automatically test a driver’s breath.

Proponents of this federal anti-DUI program include Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), which cites multiple studies showing that interlocks reduce repeat offenses of DUI by an average of 67%. Among MADD’s current recommendations is the mandatory installation of ignition interlocks in every state, including PA, for every convicted DUI offender. Currently, thirteen states implement such a policy, although Pennsylvania is not yet among them.