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Cok Kinzler PLLP

Bill proposed that could mandate alcohol detection tech on cars

A bill has been introduced to Congress that may help to reduce drunk driving crashes. Called the RIDE (Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone) Act of 2019, it aims to mandate the use of alcohol detection systems on all new vehicles by 2024. Montana residents may have heard of ignition interlock devices, which are a successful example of such systems.

The IID is an in-car breathalyzer connected to the car's ignition. This device prevents the car from starting if it detects alcohol on the driver's breath. While the car is in motion, the IID will demand "rolling samples" of the driver's breath to ensure both that someone else didn't breathe into it at the start and that the driver is not drinking behind the wheel.

In 2018, this device prevented 348,000 attempts by drunk drivers to start their cars. Since 2006, it has stopped more than three million such attempts. However, there is the possibility of false positives triggered even by things like mouthwash and pizza dough.

The bill would provide funding for research and development regarding alcohol detection technology. However, it does not specify whether the development team would work off of IIDs and other existing technology. Once the tech is developed, there would be an extensive pilot program before implementation.

Vehicle accidents are almost always the result of negligence, and drunk driving is one of the most blatant forms of carelessness. Someone who has been injured by a negligent motorist could file a claim against the applicable insurance company. The process can be complicated, so a victim may want to retain legal representation. Once the evidence has been gathered, the lawyer may speak on the client's behalf at the negotiation table or in the courtroom.

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