Advanced alcohol detection devices aren’t new. They are commonly called Ignition Interlock Devices (IIDs). Drivers who are convicted of driving while intoxicated in Washington are generally required to install IID devices on their vehicles. The IID device tests the driver before he/she starts the car. The driver is also required to use the IID device while driving at random intervals. If the driver fails the IID test, he/she will be forced off the road because the car will screech and flash its lights.
Now, it looks like Congress is finally ready to do something about it.
In an effort to reduce the number of drunk-driving deaths and injuries, Congress is once again considering bills that require car manufacturers to install technology that will make it harder, if not impossible, for someone to start or drive a vehicle while the driver is intoxicated. The legislation is supported by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and others.
The HALT Drunk Driving Act
The HALT (Honoring Abbas Family Legacy to Terminate) Drunk Driving Act was proposed in 2019-2020 as part of a transportation bill. The bill requires that the US Department of Transportation create a motor vehicle safety standard which requires that motor vehicle manufacturers equip their vehicles with an “advanced alcoholic detection device” which:
- Analyzes a driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level
- Stops the driver from being able to operate the vehicle if the driver is legally intoxicated. Generally, a BAC level of .08 or more is considered dangerous and illegal.
The HALT Act also requires that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) create a program to equip these devices on at least 1,500 government-owned fleet vehicles by the end of the 2022 fiscal year.
The RIDE Act
The RIDE (Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone) Act of 2019, which provides for similar anti-drunk-driving technology, was introduced in 2019 and is expected to be introduced in the US Senate in 2021. The law provides that the NHTSA work with vehicle manufacturers and suppliers to use drunk driving prevention in technology developed by the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety Research Program, so that the technology can be installed into new vehicles.
The Act requires that the NHTSA:
- Demonstrate that the drunk-driving tech works in at least 2,500 federal fleet vehicles
- Create a program to encourage that state, local, and private fleets use the advanced drunk driving prevention technology.
Drunk driving is a leading cause of death in Washington. At Philbrook Law Office, our Vancouver, WA car accident lawyers hold intoxicated drivers accountable for the pain and suffering, medical bills, lost income, and car damage they cause. We file wrongful death claims on behalf of the families of deceased victims. We often, also, file claims for punitive damages. If you’re suffering due to a drunk-driving accident, be sure to call our offices in Vancouver or Battle Ground, WA at 360-695-3309 or use our contact form to make an appointment.
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Founding Attorney Matthew Philbrook attended Clark College, Washington State University, and Gonzaga University School of Law. He is a member of the Washington State and Oregon State Bar Associations and started Philbrook Law Office in 2005. He specializes in Personal Injury, DUI and Criminal Defense cases. Learn more about Mr. Philbrook.