We’ve all heard of cars getting smarter, where technology is integrated into the vehicle. Things like rear-view cameras will become mandatory for new cars in 2018, for example, and already we’re used to anti-lock brakes. Now, the DADSS program (the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety) has introduced a new technology that has to potential to eliminate DUIs in Bellingham, Whatcom County, and all over the country.

DADSS is building prototypes of an alcohol detection system (ADS) that would prevent a car from moving if the blood alcohol content of the driver exceeded the legal limit of 0.08 that each state has adopted. In the experimental phase, DADSS is working with two types of technology to determine BAC (Blood Alcohol Content). One is a breath-based system that automatically measures the alcohol level in a driver’s exhaled breath. This technology isn’t the same as a breathalyzer. What about other passengers in the car who may have been drinking? The DADSS website said the technology would “accurately and reliably distinguish between the driver’s breath and that of any passengers.” 

The second technology DADSS will be testing is a touch-based system. Using an infrared-light that shines through the fingertip, this measures blood alcohol levels under the skin’s surface. DADSS said automakers could integrate this system into a vehicle’s start button or steering wheel, making it possible to take multiple accurate readings in less than a second.

Two giant entites have formed a public/private partnership to sponsor the DADSS research – the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety (ACTS), which represent automakers. Their plan is to make the ADS an optional safety feature on vehicles, like automatic braking and lane departure warnings.

If and when the ADS technology becomes commercially viable and available to car buyers, it could help save some of the 10,000 lives lost to DUI incidents each year.

Bellingham personal injury attorney Bill Coats is standing by to offer critical insight into your case, if you have been the victim of a drunk driver. Call or email him today to find out more about your case, and learn about your options for financial recovery after such a devastating experience. He is well experienced in helping victims of drunk drivers recover. If you have been injured, or if someone you love has been hurt or killed, it’s critical to contact a skilled, experienced attorney who can be your advocate during the often-confusing, complex process of financial recovery. He offers free consultations, so you have nothing to lose.


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