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Could This New Car Gadget Save Your Life?

Next to cellphones and distracted driving, we are all aware of the biggest danger on the roadway: drunk drivers. We are more conscious of other drivers on the road when they are driving erratically, one of the most obvious signs that a driver is under the influence. Every year thousands of people die at the hands of drivers operating their cars under the influence. While cars have become a standard part of our day, it is easy to forget how dangerous they are, and sometimes people underestimate the danger until it is too late. Many teams have worked to try and develop a way to minimize or prevent people from driving under the influence and finding ways to integrate technology into our car’s safety system.

The danger of drunk driving

Many of us have been touched by the tragedy that is drunk driving. While we do our part to not drive under the influence and get our friends and family home safely when they’ve been drinking, we can’t help what other drivers are doing. Whether someone doesn’t realize that they are drunk and can’t drive or they are so drunk that they don’t care, drunk driving is still a significant problem.

A driver veered onto a sidewalk and hit 9 pedestrians | Mindy Schauer/MediaNews Group/Orange County Register

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What if there was something we could do to prevent people from driving under the influence? A system that can detect a driver’s alcohol level might seem invasive, but it could be a solution to avoid — or at least minimize — intoxicated drivers. According to the NHTSA, every year, as many as 10,000 people die in accidents involving a drunk driver. The new technology isn’t designed to be installed in every car, however.

Driving under the influence

The proposed device would serve as an ignition lock, preventing the driver from starting the car unless the driver uses the equipment. It wouldn’t be technology readily installed in every vehicle, but rather something that would be required after a driver’s first offense. While it only takes one time driving under the influence to cause a fatal accident, it’s easier to implement this technology on a smaller scale than to require it in every production vehicle.

A fatal drunk driving accident |Roman Kanashchuk\TASS

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The device works like a breathalyzer, where the driver would have to have their breath tested for alcohol consumption in a manner similar to the method used when you’re pulled over. If the system detects that your blood-alcohol content is higher than the legal limit, the car will fail to turn over, and the driver will have to find another ride home.

This device could be potentially life-saving and was designed to reduce the number of drunk driving accidents and fatalities by as much as possible. It is hard to say whether the technology will be implemented or required at all or any time soon, but if it is, it could save thousands of lives every year.