Drunk driving poses a serious threat to roadway safety, in California and across the country. Each day, around 30 people lose their lives in crashes caused by driving under the influence. With the growth in automated safety technologies in newly manufactured vehicles, many are looking to technological solutions to reduce the danger posed by drunk drivers. In fact, a bipartisan group of members of Congress has introduced a bill, the Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone (RIDE) Act of 2019, in an effort to mandate increased efforts by auto manufacturers to make it harder for drunk drivers to get on the road in the first place.

The bill would require manufacturers to produce vehicles that would prevent a car from starting when the driver is drunk and have them on the roads by 2024. The bill’s proponents say it could save 7,000 lives each year if passed by preventing motor vehicle accidents, also known as MVAs. The bill references ignition interlock systems, currently used in cases where people have been convicted of DUI. When an interlock system is installed, the driver must blow into a breathalyzer system connected to the ignition before starting the car. The vehicle will only turn on if the breath test results are clear.

Current interlock systems can be costly; people convicted of DUI pay thousands of dollars to install them. However, the bill would allocate money to auto manufacturers to fund research and development for smaller, more accurate and more affordable interlock systems that could easily be incorporated into all new vehicles.

The technology to ensure that cars prevent drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel is still largely in development, and people continue to face serious injuries as a result of crashes. People injured in drunk driving MVAs may consult with a personal injury lawyer about their options to pursue compensation.