Drunk driving has been an ongoing problem across the country and in Virginia. While the efforts of groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving and others have made headway against this danger, more work is still needed. Every year, too many lives are lost at the hands of negligent people who make the choice to get behind the wheel of vehicles after they have consumed alcohol.
Now, the State of Virginia is taking action. According to Leftlane News, the state has joined forces with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to provide vital funding to help bring to life a new technology that has tremendous potential to crack down on drunk driving.
The DADSS potential
Over the past few years, a technology that would allow new vehicles to be manufactured with embedded alcohol detection capabilities has been investigated. This is known as the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety.
There are reportedly multiple ways that DADSS could be able to identify the presence of alcohol in a driver. These include by analyzing the normal exhales of a driver and would even be able to isolate the driver's breath samples from those of any passengers. Another option relies on touch sensors in an ignition button.
The goal of DADSS is to find an unobtrusive and automatic way for vehicles to detect a potentially drunk driver and prevent that person from operating a vehicle. This would be a big leap forward in the war against drunk driving.
Virginia and the NHTSA have together pledged more than $5 million to help put DADSS into action.
The reality of drunk driving in Virginia
According to the NHTSA's records, drunk drivers claimed the lives of more than 200 people every year between 2011 and 2015 in Virginia. During that time, 2013 stands out as the deadliest of those years. In that year alone, 263 people were killed at the hands of drunk drivers.
Roanoke County was the location of nine drunk driving deaths over those five years. Only two of its neighboring counties - Montgomery and Franklin Counties - experienced more drunk driving fatalities in that timeframe. There, 11 and 15 people died, respectively.
Botetourt County was the site of eight alcohol-related accident fatalities while six people each died in Floyd and Craig Counties. In Bedford County, one drunk driving fatality was recorded.
Action is important when accidents happen
Virginia residents who are involved in drunk driving accidents deserve to be compensated. Talking to an attorney is recommended at these times. This can give people the chance to learn how to get across the point that drunk driving is dangerous.