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New bill proposes alcohol detection tech for all new cars

Congress is looking over a new bill that would require all new cars to be equipped with alcohol detection systems by 2024. It is a step that would save some 7,000 lives a year, according to lawmakers. Residents of Colorado should know that these numbers are not exaggerated. Drunk driving is an epidemic. Every day in the U.S., 30 people die in drunk driving crashes.

The Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone Act of 2019 would fund the research and development stage and establish a pilot program testing vehicles with the resulting software. Whether or not the development team would use existing technology has not been clarified. However, the success of ignition interlock devices has no doubt influenced lawmakers.

IIDs are systems that require drivers to breathe into a breathalyzer before starting the car. If their BAC is above the legal limit, the vehicle will be prevented from starting. While the vehicle is in motion, IIDs require "rolling samples" of alcohol-free breath to keep drivers from drinking behind the wheel. Many states require that DUI offenders pay to install IIDs.

Since 2006, IIDs have prevented at least 3 million attempts by drunk motorists to start their cars. The technology is not perfect, though; false positives can arise from mouthwash and other substances.

Drunk driving often forms the basis for auto accident cases. A crash victim could file a personal injury claim to recover damages. These damages may include past and future medical expenses, physical and emotional suffering and lost wages. To ensure a fair settlement, a victim might want to hire a lawyer. If a settlement cannot be reached with the other side's insurance company, legal counsel may recommend taking the case to court.

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