Driving under the influence is one of the leading causes of injuries and fatalities in the United States. Every 45 minutes, someone is killed due to driving under the influence related accidents. Unfortunately, even with numerous DUI awareness campaigns out there, and an abundance of educational programs in place with the intention to decrease these accidents, they still pose one of the largest safety risks in the country.
In recent years, we have seen the rise of incredible technology in most aspects of life. Some of these technological advancements have made strides to make DUI-related accidents less of a threat in an effort to save thousands of lives.
The Ignition Interlock Device (IID)
The first of these technological advancements made to prevent DUI-related accidents is the Ignition Interlock Device. So, what is an IID? The IID is a breathalyzer device that the driver must blow into before starting their car. If the IID reads a blood alcohol content (BAC) above the legal limit of 0.08%, the ignition will not start. For those who have a history of DUI offenses, the IID has been a helpful tool in limiting repeat offenses, as well as DUI-related crashes.
Technological Car Developments
Another way that technology can help to prevent DUI-related accidents is the recent advancement in car safety. Many cars now come equipped with features such as emergency braking, blind-spot detection, steering wheel locking, and other sensory elements. Lane departure systems alert the driver if they are drifting out of a lane, which can help with inattentive driving like driving under the influence.
Fully autonomous vehicles are not quite yet widely available or accessible to the public, they also have the potential to greatly reduce DUI accidents. It is possible that at some point in the near future, autonomous vehicles could become the norm and save many lives on the road.
Although these features cannot stop someone from getting behind the wheel, they may help prevent accidents in alcohol and drug-related situations on the road.
Rideshare Apps and Mobile Technology
Mobile technology has played a helpful role in encouraging drivers to discover other modes of transportation while they are under the influence. Rideshare apps like Uber and Lyft have provided a safe option for those who partake in drinking alcohol and need to get from one place to another. Studies have found that DUI-related accidents decreased in areas where rideshare cars and apps were utilized regularly.
There are also some mobile apps available that can estimate your BAC level when you input the number and type of drinks you have had. Although it is much safer to opt out of driving a vehicle even if you have had just one alcoholic drink.
Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS)
Lane departure warnings have become an important safety feature in many vehicles, as they help protect drivers from potentially devastating accidents. These warnings are triggered when a car strays out of its lane, typically with a loud noise that alerts the driver and encourages them to take corrective action before it’s too late.
In addition to preventing fatigue-related crashes, lane departure warnings can also be helpful for those under the influence due to alcohol or drugs – allowing them to be alerted and correct their course before they make a potentially deadly mistake.
Self-driving vehicles have the potential to drastically reduce the amount of DUIs caused by intoxicated drivers. Australia is leading the way in introducing legislation that would make it a legal exception to be in control of an automated vehicle while impaired. This technology could detect any signs of intoxication and take over the driving responsibilities, keeping people off the roads if they are too impaired to drive safely.
Autonomous cars can also monitor traffic conditions, adjusting their speed and following traffic laws accordingly. This helps reduce the risk of speeding or reckless driving, which can be a result of drinking and driving. It ensures that drivers will still benefit from self-driving technology without becoming a danger on the road due to intoxication.
Furthermore, these devices could come with preprogrammed settings for designated drivers so that someone who is sober can take over control when necessary. Having this additional layer of safety will significantly lower the chance of incidents related to impaired driving, making our roads much safer for everyone.
Ignition Interlock Device
Ignition Interlock Devices (IIDs) are becoming increasingly common in the United States and this technology is playing an important role in helping to tackle the problem of drunk driving. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), IIDs reduce repeat DUI offenses by as much as 70%, making them an incredibly effective tool for keeping roads safe.
Currently, 34 states have adopted IID laws for former offenders, with these regulations only getting stricter over time. There is even a growing push at a national level for all new cars to be fitted with IIDs as soon as 2024. With such widespread implementation, it is clear that IIDs are becoming essential in the fight against drunk driving and could have a major impact in preventing car accidents and saving lives.
How Technology has Helped Drunk Driving Fatalities Around the World
Modern technology has had a positive impact on the global decline of drunk driving fatalities.
In Sweden, public health initiatives have put in place high taxes on alcohol, strict regulations at point of sale, and increased cultural awareness towards sobriety. This has resulted in one of the lowest drunk driving fatality rates in Europe. All commercial and government vehicles in Sweden are also equipped with an interlock system to prevent drivers from operating under the influence.
In Australia, legislation implemented in 2001 known as Random Breath Testing (RBT) saw a 35% decrease in fatal car crashes within four years. Poland takes the matter of drinking and driving even more seriously, issuing heavy fines to first-time offenders and revoking their licenses if necessary. Scientists are currently developing new laser-based methods which can detect alcohol vapor inside cars from a distance of 20 meters without stopping them first, providing an added layer of protection for drivers and passengers alike.
Countries like Sweden, Australia and Poland have seen measurable results from increasing taxes on alcohol purchases, implementing random breath testing programs, deploying interlock systems for commercial vehicles and using sophisticated detection tools that can identify potential drinking drivers without stopping them first.
In addition to helping protect citizens from danger on the roads, these measures are creating a culture shift away from harmful behaviors such as drinking and driving – something that could have life-saving implications for generations to come.
Technology can never completely eliminate DUI accidents, but it does have the potential to lower the risks and save lives. From ignition interlock devices to rideshare apps, technology has been a powerful tool in preventing DUI accidents in recent years. By utilizing the technology that is currently available, and continuing to fight for more education surrounding driving under the influence, we can minimize the lives lost and make the roads a safer place for all drivers.