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Drunk driving continues to be an epidemic

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said that drunk driving crashes led to 11,000 fatalities and over 200,000 injury cases in 2017. About 29% of all roadway fatalities in California and across the U.S. are due to drunk driving. At a congressional hearing, the president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving called for automakers to use more of the available technologies to stop this epidemic.

For example, one group has been developing an advanced passive system called the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety. With the combination of touch-based and breath-based systems, it would be able to determine whether drivers' BAC is over .08 and prevent them from operating their vehicle if it is.

Volvo is also working on a system that detects intoxication through cameras and sensors. Breath-based systems may become a part of vehicles by the end of 2020, whereas touch-based systems may take longer to develop.

Still, if a system can be fully implemented that makes a vehicle inoperable when a drunk driver gets in, it could save some 7,000 lives a year, according to estimates from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The current fascination with self-driving vehicle technology should not take away from the benefits that these other technologies offer in the meantime.

Drunk driving is a serious offense, and it can also provide the impetus for an accident claim. Those who are injured at the hands of a drunk driver may want to connect with Costa Mesa auto accident injury lawyers for a case evaluation. In California, even those who are partially to blame are eligible for compensation, though the amount may have to be modified. A lawyer might hire investigators to obtain proof of intoxication, starting with the police report. The lawyer may then negotiate for a settlement with the insurance company.

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