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Law calls for mandatory car alcohol detection systems

New cars sold in New Jersey and around the country will one day come equipped with technology designed to prevent drunk driving if bills recently submitted to the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate reach President Trump’s desk. The proposed legislation has received bipartisan support from lawmakers who hope that it could save as many as 7,000 lives each year. Drunk driving remains a thorny road safety issue in the United States, and accidents caused by intoxicated motorists claim about 30 lives each day.

If passed, the Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone Act would not go into effect for at least two years. This would give carmakers time to develop systems capable of detecting alcohol. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is working with the auto sector to test and evaluate drunk driving technology, and money earmarked by the RIDE Act will be used to fund similar programs and run pilot schemes.

The development timetable suggests that the RIDE Act will not mandate drunk driving prevention measures already in use around the country. The ignition interlock devices convicted drunk drivers are required to install in their vehicles test breath samples and prevent cars from starting when alcohol is detected. Lawmakers may feel that this approach is too intrusive. However, IIDs are extremely effective at preventing intoxicated driving. The advocacy group Mothers Against Drunk Driving says that the devices have thwarted at least 3 million impaired drivers since 2006.

Liability may be fairly easy to establish in car accident lawsuits when police reports reveal that the driver responsible was under the influence of drugs or alcohol when they crashed. However, recovering damages could be more challenging if the negligent motorist was killed in the accident or faces years in prison. In situations like this, experienced personal injury attorneys may initiate litigation against the deceased or incarcerated individual’s car insurance company or estate.