Motorists in Georgia and around the country should be aware that drunk driving is still the primary reason for highway fatalities. The National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration reports that 29 percent of all road fatalities are caused by drunk driving. It also reports that in 2017, there were almost 11,000 fatalities, and over 200,000 people sustained injuries due to impaired drivers.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a drunk driver prevention system that is completely implemented may be able to save the lives of approximately 7,000 people every year. The suppliers and the manufacturers of the auto industry have been challenged to fast-tract the creation of the technology that would stop intoxicated drivers from operating vehicles and to have the technology available for use by consumers as soon as they can.

A group with ties to the auto industry has spent more than a decade developing an advanced passive system, called the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety, which is intended to disable vehicles that have an impaired motorist behind the wheel. The program is researching how to detect the blood alcohol content of drivers using a breath-based system and a touch-based system. Vehicles would be rendered inoperable if the blood-alcohol content of a driver reads more than .08%.

According to the president of the auto industry group implementing the program, a system using a breath-based test may be available for use by no later than the end of 2020. In the meantime, test vehicles are being used in Virginia.

An attorney who practices personal injury law may work to obtain financial compensation on behalf of clients who have been harmed in crashes caused by intoxicated drivers. If negotiations with the at-fault motorist’s insurance company do not result in sufficient compensation for the losses that car accident victims have sustained, litigation might be necessary.