In-Vehicle Alcohol Detection Sensors Form Part of Virginia DUI Initiative
In vehicle alcohol detection sensors form part of a new partnership launched in Virginia to fight against drunk drivers as the Commonwealth leads the way in a national partnership.
Virginia has become the first state in the country to use National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) highway safety grant funds to partner with a program through the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced the initiative on September 10 when he detailed a partnership with James River Transportation. Northam said:
“Virginia’s leadership in both public safety and technological innovation makes us a natural partner to help deploy and implement this lifesaving technology. The Driven to Protect initiative will help combat drunk driving through innovative vehicle-based solutions that complement existing, tried-and-true traffic safety initiatives to save lives.”
The partnership involves research on an in-vehicle sensor that won’t allow the engine to start if ethanol above a predetermined level is on the breath of a driver. The detection sensors are different from traditional blood-alcohol level sensors. They are passive and do not require a driver to breathe into a tube. The result is returned in less than one second. Clearly, this system has great potential and is less invasive than ignition interlock devices.
Virginia has partnered with the DADSS (Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety) program via the Department of Motor Vehicles.
DADDS states intoxicated drunk driving claims approximately 10,000 lives every year in the United States. DADDS believes its technology will make a dent in that statistic. The technology automatically detects when a driver is drunk with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above 0.08 percent — the legal limit in all 50 states except Utah
James River Transportation has been a transportation company in the Richmond area for 90 years. Prototypes of the breath-based sensors have been equipped in four vehicles in the James River Transportation commercial fleet. Feedback and data collected from the prototype sensors, as well as from the drivers will be used to further develop the technology and prepare for widespread commercialization.
The first Ford Flex vehicles in James River’s commercial fleet began operations from Richmond International Airport and Norfolk International Airport this year. They take clients wherever they need to go while integrating the prototype technology as they gather operational data during the course of the ride.
Although the number of deaths related to drunk driving has fallen in Virginia in past decades, intoxicated driving remains a major threat to all Virginia families and road users.
Last year, Virginia reported 7,285 alcohol-related crashes, 248 alcohol-related deaths, 4,430 injuries in DUI car wrecks and 18,701 DUI convictions on the highways of the Commonwealth.
This week, a man convicted of the drunk driving crash that claimed the life of Great Bridge High School student Kaitlyn Duffy and injured her friend was sentenced to 47 years in jail.
Jerode Demetrius Johnson was the driver of a box truck that crashed head-on into a Honda CR-V that the two Great Bridge High School seniors were traveling in on May 19, 2017 in Virginia Beach.
We are always saddened when drunk drivers cause misery and unnecessary loss of life on the roads of Virginia and North Carolina. We welcome the idea of vehicle alcohol detection sensors in cars. If you have been harmed by a drunk driver or lost a loved one, please call our Virginia Beach DUI injury lawyers today at (757) 455-0077.