Can Technology Help Reduce Drunk-Driving Deaths? - 2 minutes read

An anonymous reader shared this report from the Wall Street Journal:
Drunken-driving deaths in the U.S. have risen to levels not seen in nearly two decades, federal data show, a major setback to long-running road-safety efforts. At the same time, arrests for driving under the influence have plummeted, as police grapple with challenges like hiring woes and heightened concern around traffic stops... About 13,500 people died in alcohol impairment-related crashes in 2022, according to data released in April by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That is 33% above 2019's toll and on par with 2021's. The last time so many people died as a result of accidents involving intoxicated drivers was in 2006.
That's still down from the early 1980s, when America was seeing over 20,000 drunk-driving deaths a year, according to the article. "By 2010, that number had fallen to around 10,000 thanks to high-profile public-education campaigns by groups like MADD, tougher laws, and aggressive enforcement that included sobriety checkpoints and typically yielded well over a million DUI arrests annually."

But some hope to solve the problem using technology:
Many activists and policymakers are banking on the promise of built-in devices to prevent a car from starting if the driver is intoxicated, either by analyzing a driver's exhaled breath or using skin sensors to gauge the blood-alcohol level. NHTSA issued a notice in December that it said lays the groundwork for potential alcohol-impairment detection technology standards in all new cars "when the technology is mature."
And Glenn Davis, who manages Colorado's highway-safety office, "pointed to Colorado's extensive use of ignition interlock systems that require people convicted of DUI to blow into a tube to verify they are sober in order for their car to start. He said the office promotes nondriving options such as Lyft and Uber."


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