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Alcohol detection systems on cars may become mandatory

The Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone Act of 2019 is a bill that has been introduced in Congress, and if implemented, it would require automakers to equip their vehicles with an alcohol detection device by 2024. Residents of Virginia should know that the device has not been made yet. The bill would fund the research, development and testing. Details on implementation are few, but the benefits of such a device are clear.

Drunk driving crashes result in about 30 deaths every day in the U.S. This comes to one person every 48 minutes. Lawmakers say that the implementation of the RIDE Act could save 7,000 lives every year. Already, many automakers are experimenting with touch sensors and in-car cameras, among other things, to create alcohol detection devices.

One device, though, stands above the rest: the ignition interlock device, which requires drivers to pass a breathalyzer test before starting their car. Since 2006, it has prevented more than three million attempts made by drunk drivers to operate their vehicle. Many states have DUI offenders install an IID in their car.

Some object to the bill by bringing up the matter of cost. While it's not certain how much money would be required, the federal government has already dedicated $50 million to the development of alcohol detection tech.

Until such tech becomes standard, though, people will continue to drive drunk. When they cause motor vehicle accidents, though, they may face not only criminal charges but also the possibility of a personal injury claim. Since drunk driving is an action worthy of punishment, those who are injured by a drunk driver may sue for punitive damages, which exceed compensatory damages. Whatever their intention, though, victims might benefit from hiring a lawyer to assist them since auto insurance companies are aggressive in denying claims.

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