When your friends decide to make you the designated driver, they aren’t doing it because they hate you. They’re doing it because they trust you. It takes a strong person to stick with soda while their friends let loose and rip shots. Occasionally a DD isn’t up for the challenge but gets behind the wheel anyway. This leads to the deaths of 28 people per day, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Report. Drunk drivers don’t only put themselves in danger, but every one else they come across on their drive.
So what is being done about it? Quite a bit. Besides the groups like MADD raising awareness in their communities, cars are trying to make a change too. The Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) is a new technology being developed that will disable a car if the driver is over the legal drinking limit. If the driver is under 21, the driver’s limit can even be set to 0 to discourage underage drinking.
Similar devices exist now for those who have a record of DUIs, but this would be an optional safety feature actually built into the car’s steering wheel, start button, or dashboard.
It works by using infrared light inside of the car’s parts that reflects on the skin’s surface and gathers a reading of the driver’s BAC. There is also a version that analyzes the drivers breath, no tube necessary. The driver only has to sit in his or her normal driving position and the technology is able to pick up their breath without taking into account any other passengers.
It’s the future of safety, and experts say it should be available by 2020. They’re even talking about making a car someday that will drive home for you if you aren’t up for the task. Until then, it’s up to you to cut yourself off. Be smart, be safe, and have fun.