In 2018, Maryland ranked 33rd in the nation for drunk driving deaths. Out of 50 states, this was a reasonably good ranking. However, drunk driving is still a fatal epidemic across the state. And any injuries or deaths resulting from drunk driving accidents are preventable.
Over the years, advocacy groups and lawmakers alike have tried to put a stop to drunk driving by increasing law enforcement and penalties,. But is it possible that technology is the answer?
New technology could detect alcohol levels
According to WJLA News, the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) is introducing a new system called “Driven to Protect.”
This is a pilot test of the program, which will install technology in vehicles to essentially act as an ignition interlock device for all drivers. The “driver alcohol detection system” will measure the level of alcohol in someone’s breath by sensors within the vehicle paneling. If the driver’s breath tests positive for specific levels of alcohol, the car will not start.
If the test goes well, MDOT wants this system in all vehicles
We have discussed the trend of in-vehicle safety technology in a previous blog post. Various auto manufacturers hope to improve and install smart technology into all vehicles within ten years, such as:
- Automatic brakes
- Collision warning systems
- Self-driving features
The driver alcohol detection system is yet another smart technology that MDOT is looking to install into new vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) believes that this technology could help reduce fatalities caused by reckless drunk driving by nearly 60%.
Are we closer to reducing drunk driving accidents?
Despite Maryland’s 2018 rank, there are still too many life-changing injuries and wrongful deaths caused by drunk driving. The Toward Zero Deaths movement in Maryland still reports that one in three drunk driving accidents results in a fatality.
It is critical to remember that individuals injured in drunk driving accidents can recover compensation (Maryland Code, Courts and Judicial Proceedings §11-108). However, if this pilot test is successful, it is possible that we could significantly reduce the rates of drunk driving accidents and keep all Maryland drivers safer.