MD: New Program Aimed At Preventing Drunk Driving (blog)
by Maximillian F. Van Orden, Esq.
February 10, 2020
The state of Maryland has partnered with the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) Program to launch Driven to Protect, a pilot program that will help keep drunk drivers off the road. The program will test new technology that may reduce drunk driving fatalities by up to 60 percent. According to safety officials, the pilot is a critical step toward deploying the technology in new vehicles and will help reach the goal of zero fatalities in Maryland.
The DADSS Program measures the level of alcohol on a driver’s breath when it is exhaled. There are small sensors built inside the panels of the vehicles, which use infrared light to analyze the breath molecules. If the driver has a breath alcohol level that is too high, the vehicle will not start. The sensor can also be programmed based on who is driving the car. For example, it can be set at the legal limit of 0.08 percent for experienced drivers over the age of 21, or at a setting that supports the zero-tolerance policy for teen drivers.
The technology will be tested in several Maryland Department of Transportation vehicles over the course of a year so that the agency can monitor the devices and test how they hold up to a range of factors, including everyday wear and tear and weather changes. According to Governor Larry Hogan, Maryland is a leader in the national effort to eliminate the devastating accidents caused by drunk driving.
Dangers of Drunk Driving
It is no secret that drunk driving is irresponsible and potentially life-threatening. However, too often people think that they are perfectly capable of driving, even after a few drinks. Unfortunately, this can have serious and fatal consequences. The following are the most common dangers of drunk driving:
- Impaired judgment and decision-making
- Reduced reaction time
- More susceptible to distracted driving
- Lack of hand, eye, and foot coordination
- Vision impairment, including blurred vision or lack or peripheral vision
- More likely to be involved in a car accident
- Serious legal ramifications, including fines, driver’s license suspension, and possible jail time
Programs like Driven to Protect help raise awareness of how dangerous and potentially life-threatening drunk driving can be. There is no such thing as driving safely while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Programs like this, combined with roadside sobriety checks, breathalyzer tests, and ignition interlock technology will help prevent devastating fatalities caused by drunk driving.