Could New Alcohol Detection System Save Lives?

BALTIMORE (WJZ)–Staggering statistics. AAA Mid-Atlantic says studies show every weekend here in Maryland three people die in vehicle accidents because of a drunk drivers.

It’s the reasons the organization is standing behind new technology to prevent intoxicated drivers from starting any vehicle.

Marcus Washington has more.

“The fact remains unfortunately, that every 58 minutes someone in America dies as a result of a drunk driving crash,” said Ragina C. Averella, AAA Mid-Atlantic.

In response, the government unveiled new technology it hopes will put an end to drunk driving crashes and save lives.

“It’s estimated it could be in the range of  59,000 lives over 15 years and up to $343-billion in cost to our society,” officials said.

It’s an alcohol detection system that can measure a drivers intoxication level in less than a second.

“I prefer to it typically as a seat belt of our generation.”

There are two technologies being developed to keep a vehicle from starting if the driver’s alcohol level is above .08.

The national president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving believes the new technology could have saved lives of people killed by drunk drivers including her son.

“He would be here right now to be able to talk. He’d be 28.”

Engineers hope an option will be available for new car buyers within five to 10 years.

“From a drunk driving standpoint, we certainly are supportive of anything that would deter drunk driving fatalities on our roads and make us all safer and keep drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel of a car,” Averella says.

The system would detect intoxication when a person uses the ignition button, which can read blood alcohol levels below the skin surface, plus a detector that can recognize alcohol on your breath.

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