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Congress May Require ‘Drunk-Proof’ Cars

An interesting proposal has been floating around Congress for a while — to enact a federal law mandating that all vehicles be manufactured with a device that prevents people from driving while intoxicated. Your opinion about this law might depend on how often you drive after having a drink or two. There was an article about this at earlier this month. Here are excerpts:

Two members of the U.S. Senate, one a Democrat and the other a Republican, have taken a step, sponsoring the ROADS SAFE Act, which would authorize $12 a year for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to develop technology that would prevent an intoxicated person from driving a vehicle.

The objective, of course, is to prevent drunk drivers from getting on the road and causing fatal accidents. Senators Tom Udall (D-NM) and Bob Corker (R-TN) co-sponsored the legislation, expressing hope their bi-partisan approach will help secure passage.

In 2008 alone, drunk driving killed 11,773 people nationwide. It is estimated that 8,000 lives could be saved each year if all vehicles were equipped with advanced alcohol detection technology.

The two lawmakers appear to have plenty of support from key interest groups. As you might expect, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is enthusiastically behind the legislature. So is the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.

Not everyone is enthusiastic, however. The American Beverage Institute said it is concerned anti-alcohol devices in cars won’t be able to distinguish someone who had a glass of wine with dinner from someone over the legal limit.

There is an existing technology that requires a driver to blow into a tube before a vehicle will start. Currently, it’s not mass produced and is installed only by court order for repeat DWI offenders.

Bob Kraft

I am a Dallas, Texas lawyer who has had the privilege of helping thousands of clients since 1971 in the areas of Personal Injury law and Social Security Disability.

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