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Proposed bill may mandate alcohol detection systems on all cars

Drunk driving is a nationwide issue, as Texas residents know, but a bill has been proposed that could do something to curb the problem. If implemented, the RIDE (Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone) Act of 2019 would take steps to mandate alcohol detection systems on all newly manufactured vehicles by 2024. It would fund research and development toward this end and establish a pilot program before implementation.

Though the bill did not specify whether development teams were to work off of existing technology, there's no doubt that it was inspired by the success of the ignition interlock device, a breathalyzer attached to the car's ignition system. Many states require DUI offenders to install these devices in their cars. IIDs prevent a vehicle from starting if they detect BAC levels above the legal limit of .08.

Not all the kinks have been worked out of IIDs, of course, as there can sometimes be false positives. While someone other than the driver could initially breathe into the IID, the device does require "rolling samples" while the car is in motion. This means the driver eventually has to do the breathing.

In 2018, IIDs prevented nearly 348,000 attempts on the part of drunk motorists to start their cars. Since 2006, they have prevented roughly 3 million of these attempts.

Until these devices become more widespread, there is always the risk for motor vehicle crashes caused by drunk drivers. Such drivers will face not only criminal charges but also personal injury claims. As for the victims who wish to file such a claim, they may want a lawyer for legal guidance. If hired, the lawyer may take the necessary steps to build the case up before proceeding to negotiations. The goal is to achieve a fair settlement out of court.

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