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Legislation aims to stop drunk drivers before they start

People in New York are often concerned about the dangers of drunk driving. After all, every day, 30 people across the country lose their lives in car accidents caused by drivers under the influence. After a drunk driving conviction, drivers may be required to install an ignition interlock device that allows them to only start the car after blowing a clean Breathalyzer test. However, this equipment is not included on standard vehicles, and it can be expensive to install when ordered by a court. Some members of Congress want to change that and mandate that all cars be equipped with alcohol-detection technology.

A bipartisan group of Senators introduced the Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone Act of 2019, also called the RIDE Act. They say that their bill would save thousands of lives each year due to preventing impaired drivers from getting behind the wheel and causing serious motor vehicle collisions. It would require all new vehicles to be equipped with alcohol detection technologies by their manufacturers by 2024. It would also fund research and development of more advanced software to detect the presence of alcohol and establish a program to test this software on fleet vehicles used by federal and state governments as well as private partners. These vehicles would serve as testing cars before the requirement for public sales went into effect.

The proponents of the legislation say that ignition interlock devices are a good example of the type of technology they want to implement more broadly, although they expect that newer software will be cheaper and more efficient. They also aim to avoid false positives and other concerns with current systems.

Motor vehicle accidents caused by drunk drivers can cause catastrophic injuries with lifelong effects. A personal injury lawyer may help accident victims to pursue negligent drivers for compensation for their damages.