According to a 2013 report conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, driving while under the influence of alcohol is involved in approximately 10,000 deaths annually, accounting for nearly one-third of all driving-related fatalities.1 Further, there are 1 million DUI convictions and 1.5 million DUI arrests every year.2 In an effort to address this issue, the federal agency National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced a new vehicle safety technology – the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (or DADSS). The agency anticipates that the system will be viable for integration into all vehicles in approximately 8 to 10 years.3
How Does DADSS Work?
The Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety is technology that could be placed near the steering wheel of any vehicle. It uses tissue or distant spectrometry (infrared lasers) that can analyze the chemical composition from your breath in the air or from your skin.
Using this technology, DADSS will be able to determine the blood alcohol content (BAC) of the driver and you will be unable to start the car if your BAC exceeds .08 grams per deciliter (the legal limit).
What are the Benefits of DADSS?
DADSS is hailed by proponents as a breakthrough in addressing the problem of drunk driving. Previously, changing driver behavior was seen as the solution to preventing accidents, but the idea to enhance vehicle design for safety (seatbelts, airbags, etc.) began to take off in 1966.4
Mitch Bainwol, CEO of the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, believes that technological advances are key when it comes to reducing automobile fatalities. With driver error accounting for 94% of crashes, Bainwol claims that improving manufactured safety systems in cars will more effectively prevent accidents than other proposed measures (such as creating more legislation).5
Why Do Some Oppose DADSS?
If you have a DUI conviction, you may be ordered by the court to install an ignition interlock device in your vehicle. On the other hand, DADSS will be a built-in system available on every car. This facet of the program has brought some criticism. Certain interest groups, such as the American Beverage Institute, believe that installing this technology on every vehicle is overkill and would create unnecessary costs on consumers. They argue that rather than imposing an additional estimated $150-$200 on the price of a vehicle, the implementation of DADSS should be confined to those with past DUI convictions.
Do You Think California Should Install DADDS on Vehicles?
The DADDS program reportedly could be installed in any vehicle, but should drivers who have no record of DUI have to deal with this extra step before driving? Do you think this technology could end drunk driving forever? What issues do you see with implementing the DADDS system? Would you be willing to pay more for your vehicle if you know that every driver also has this technology installed?
At Wallin & Klarich, we value your opinion and want to hear what you think. Please leave a comment below to share with us where you stand on this issue.