(WFXR) — New technology could stop a drunk driver from getting behind the wheel of a vehicle.
This lifesaving technology was developed through the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) Program. It works by determining if the driver is impaired with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above the applicable legal limit and prevents the vehicle from moving. It can measure a driver’s BAC in less than a second, according to the DADDS website. Parents can also program the system to have a zero-tolerance policy for drivers under the age of 21.
The DADSS Program is developing two different systems: a touch base and a breath base. Before the driver hits the road, the driver’s breath is measured through a sensor that is located either in the door or the steering wheel of the car, according to the DADSS video showcasing the technology. From there the molecules in the breath are measured and if the ratio of alcohol to carbon dioxide molecules is above a certain range, then it is determined the driver has an illegal alcohol level and the car won’t move.
As for the touch base technology, the driver’s BAC is measured through the skin’s surface. The sensor can be located in the sensor or in the gear shift of the vehicle. When the driver touches either piece, infrared light shines through the fingertip of the driver. It can then read the level of alcohol in the blood through the skin tissue.
The DADSS Program is working with the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety (ACTS), and Schneider — a premier provider of transportation, intermodal, and logistics services.
“Virginians should be proud of our state’s leadership in public safety and technology innovation,” said Virginia DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb, the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. “The progress we have made since 2018 has advanced this game-changing anti-drunk driving technology, and I am excited to see how this new deployment will bring the technology one step closer to saving countless lives on our roadways.”
Schneider is the first truckload carrier to work with the new technology. However, this isn’t the first time Schneider has implemented truck safety technology, the implemented speed limiters in the 1980s, and has adopted other safety measures such as stability control systems, electronic logging devices, collision mitigation systems, and forward-and side-mounted video cameras.
“Safety comes first at Schneider, always, and we believe in going above and beyond industry standards. We look forward to the opportunity to pilot groundbreaking safety technology developed to help save lives,” said Schneider Vice President of Safety, Driver Training and Compliance Tom DiSalvi. “We know our team of professional drivers will embrace this technology because, just as with previous safety enhancements, they will be part of a solution that will make our highways safer.”
As part of the trail deployment program with Schneider, eight cabs will be decked out with the latest breath sensors in 2022.
When the technology becomes available to drivers throughout the Commonwealth it could help reduce the number of drunk driving deaths across the state and nation. A study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), this new technology could help save more than 9,000 lives each year and eliminate the number one cause of death on roadways. In Virginia police reported 6,624 alcohol-related crashes, 272 alcohol-related fatalities, and 3,386 alcohol-related injuries on the roads.
For breaking news delivered to you, subscribe to WFXR’s breaking news email list