In 2000, there were a total of 16,650 fatalities recorded in the United States as a result of drunk driving. In 2000, that number went down to 11,650. While 5,000 people may not seem like a lot, it’s still suggestive that some progress has taken place.
Many may say that the reason for that is technology. Over the past 20 years, many technological breakthroughs and features helped prevent drunken driving accidents. Here are the most important ones that are used to prevent an unfortunate incident:
1. Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS)
A great technological breakthrough to prevent drunk driving is the DADSS. Drunk driving accidents often occur because there was no one to stop the drunk person from stepping behind the wheel. They would drink a couple of beers and then turn the ignition, believing that nothing would happen until they reach home.
This is rarely the case, which is why DADSS technology is such a breakthrough. This onboard system will detect the alcohol on your breath before you turn the vehicle on. It uses infrared sensors to catch the alcohol breath. Therefore, even if you try to turn the car on from the passenger’s seat, the system will know.
If alcohol is caught on your breath, then the car will not start. It is the equivalent of a safety belt in our modern, preventing you from going on the road in unsafe conditions. The car will still start if your alcohol levels are under legal limits, but won’t if that limit was passed.
Aside from breath alcohol, this technology also analyzes your blood alcohol through skin contact. The creator of this technology said that DADSS would reduce the number of fatalities by 7,000. It is expected by most cars will have this on board in the next couple of years.
2. Ignition Interlock Devices (IID)
Similar to DADSS systems, ignition interlocking devices require you to breathe into a breathalyzer before you start your vehicle. Think of this system as the ignition of your car. If your breath is free of alcohol, it will allow you to start your car. If not, the car will simply remain turned off.
A great perk of IID is that it doesn’t need a police officer to get your alcohol levels tested. The disadvantage is that it only checks your breath for alcohol, and not your blood alcohol (like DADSS) does. Therefore, if you use something like a throat spray that contains alcohol, you may not be able to start your car.
According to reports, drunk driving deaths are down by 19% since 2006, with the IID stopping more than 3 million drunk driving attempts. This is why many Virginia cities such as Fairfax adopted this law. You’ll be less likely to need a Fairfax DUI lawyer if your car didn’t start in the first place.
3. Ridesharing Apps
Ridesharing apps have been here for a while, but they reduced the numbered of drunk drivers significantly. Since Uber was started in 2009, people realized that it’s much safer to call a ride rather than risk getting drunk. This makes them a fair tool for people that own smartphones.
Ridesharing apps are very popular for the fact that they have fair prices compared to your regular cab fares. This makes drivers more inclined to grab a ride home if they know they won’t spend half their paycheck on a ride.
Uber and Lift are not the only ridesharing apps that people use after a few drinks. Steer Clear has also raised quite a lot in the past couple of years. Not only does it offer rides to those under the influence of alcohol, but they can also take your car home after that.
This is exactly what makes people take the risk: the prospect of not being able to use their car in the morning. Rather than taking long bus drives or expensive cab rides to get to their car, they simply prefer to drive home. With the right ridesharing app, it can be prevented.
This is proven by science as well. According to reports, drunk driving apps have significantly reduced drunk driving fatalities. Accidents were reduced by 3.6% per quarter since UberX was introduced.
The Bottom Line
Technology can end up saving lives – and for drivers, we mean this as literally as possible. Whether it’s a piece of software that prevents your car from starting or an app that gives you an alternative, technology can easily keep you safe. With continuous improvements, we can expect accidents to be reduced even more in the future.