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All new cars may soon detect alcohol on drivers' breath

Alcohol detection technology is beginning to show signs of success when it comes to preventing drunk driving. Drivers in New York should be aware that drunk driving crashes claim the lives of some 30 people every day in this country. However, if a certain bill is passed, it may help to reverse this trend. In fact, lawmakers say it could save 7,000 lives a year.

The bill is called the Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone Act of 2019, and it proposes to fund the research and development for a new alcohol detection system. The bill would also mandate that this new system be installed on all new vehicles by 2024. As for how this new system will be developed and implemented, the details are not yet clear. For example, development teams may or may not work off of existing tech.

Some engineers are trying to create in-car cameras that can detect drunk and distracted drivers while others want to detect alcohol intoxication through the use of touch sensors. The most successful of all alcohol detection systems, though, is the ignition interlock device, a breathalyzer connected to a car's ignition system.

Since 2006, this device, known as IIDS, has prevented drunk drivers from starting their cars more than three million times. Many states require DUI offenders to install these on their vehicles.

Until such technology becomes widely available, though, car accidents will continue to happen because of intoxication. Victims, though, can seek compensatory damages under personal injury law and even sue for punitive damages, which are meant to punish defendants. Before moving forward, though, victims may want to consult with a lawyer. The lawyer may hire investigators, medical experts and other third parties to help strengthen the case before proceeding to negotiations. If a settlement cannot be achieved, victims may litigate.

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