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'This technology will save thousands and thousands of lives:' New bill could help curb drunk driving

Posted at 9:45 PM, Nov 21, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-22 12:05:51-05

A bipartisan bill to add alcohol detection devices in all new cars has been introduced in the Senate.

Senator's Tom Udall, a Democrat from New Mexico and Rick Scott, a Republican from Florida co-authored the "RIDE Act" or the Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone Act. The bill provides $10 million for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to work with vehicle manufacturers to develop Driver Alcohol Detection Systems.

Once the technology is developed, the bill specifies it becomes mandatory in vehicles sold in the U.S. within 2 years.

The detection devices currently being developed use either breath or touch sensors with infrared technology to determine a driver's blood alcohol content. "This technology will save thousands and thousands of lives every year," says Senator Scott.

"It requires the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration within 2 years to pass regulations to require installation in every new vehicle," said Senator Udall.

Family members of victims of drunk driving welcome the new push for technology. Donna Johnson's father, David Rosol, and a family friend were killed by a drunk driver in December of 2017.

Johnson says "It needs to be mandated, but I don't see that in our future, maybe our kids."

She does believe if the drunk driver who killed her father had this type of technology in his vehicle, he might be alive today.

"I think that if there would have been more laws in place or if he would have been in a vehicle that had an interlock or the technology I think that there would have been a definite stop to what he did."

The bill currently is in a Senate committee, if it is passed there it would move on to the full Senate for a vote. A companion bill called "HALT Drunk Driving" is currently in the House of Representatives.