What are sober driving solutions?
Sober driving solutions are wide-ranging. By actively supporting and pursuing such technologies, driver sobriety will increase, improving the safety of all people on the road. A key solution to ensuring sober driving is ignition interlock devices. These devices can be installed in a car post-manufacturing and added to any make or model.
Roughly 1/3 of all driver fatalities occur with a BAC of .08 or higher. Ignition interlock technology saves thousands of lives in the Unites States each year, with more than 3 million attempts of driving under the influence since 2007. Part of the reason this IID technology is successful is because it is primarily installed on vehicles of past offenders. Unfortunately, with drunk driving there is a high rate of recidivism, which is why the courts often mandate its use.
Advanced drunk and impaired driving prevention technology has been shown to prevent more than 9,400 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities annually. As car technology continues to advance, it has the potential to make driving even safer. Expanded use of existing tools and development of new ones is happening right now.
An ignition interlock device works by a driver using the mouthpiece to blow into the device for a few seconds. This tests a driver’s breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) before they are able to start their vehicle. If the device detects a BrAC greater than the legal limit determined by the monitoring authority, the engine will be prevented from starting. This ensures that those with this device installed will not be able to drive while under the influence of alcohol.
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The number of ignition interlock devices (IID) installed throughout the U.S. (NYT)
The number of drivers who were stopped from operating a car by an IID in 2020. (MADD)
The number of drivers under the influence who have been stopped from operating a car by an IID since 2007. (MADD)
What is the future of sober driving solutions?
The Department of Transportation is currently innovating a new technology that will automatically detect when a driver is intoxicated with a BrAC at/ above 0.08 percent – the legal limit in all 50 states except Utah – and prevent the car from starting. The technology must first meet rigorous performance standards but could be voluntarily deployed in certain vehicles within the next decade.
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