young man drinking while driving

Drunk driving crash rates have significantly declined since the 1970s thanks to tougher laws and the work of advocacy organizations, such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Unfortunately, thousands of people are still killed every year in preventable accidents caused by drunk drivers. Some anti-drunk driving advocates urge the addition of new technology to vehicles to reduce drunk driving accidents by sensing intoxicated drivers and signs of impairment. Keep reading to learn more about emerging technology to combat drunk drivers.

The personal injury attorneys of Joye Law Firm are committed to keeping drunk drivers off the street and making our communities safer through both new technology and strong legal advocacy. Our personal injury lawyers advocate for the rights of people injured by drunk drivers throughout South Carolina. We hold those who cause harm accountable.

Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you seek full compensation for your injuries and related losses after a drunk driving accident. Joye Law Firm has been serving injured people in South Carolina for more than 50 years. We are honored to have made a positive difference in the lives of thousands of people. We have five convenient locations in CharlestonMyrtle BeachColumbiaClinton, and Summerville and offer free case reviews.

Drunk Driving Dangers

Alcohol was a factor in close to a third of all motor vehicle fatalities, totaling 10,000 deaths or more per year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The NHTSA reported 285 people died in alcohol-related accidents and many more were injured in South Carolina in 2019.

Driving under the influence of alcohol can make a motorist an unsafe driver as some of the effects of alcohol on the ability to drive include:

  • Slowed reflexes, which makes it harder for drunk drivers to react quickly to an emergency or hazard
  • Altered perception, which also makes it harder for intoxicated drivers to recognize a dangerous traffic situation or road hazard
  • Reduced inhibition, which can make a drunk driver more likely to engage in reckless driving such as speeding, tailgating, weaving in and out of traffic, making unsafe lane changes or turns, racing to beat red lights, and running stop signs
  • Increased drowsiness and fatigue, which puts a drunk driver at risk of falling asleep behind the wheel

Using Technology to Keep Families Safe

One man being stopped from grabbing keys after drinkingAlthough increased law enforcement and education about the dangers of drunk driving have significantly reduced drunk driving accidents, the reduction in drunk driving deaths has plateaued in recent years. Safety advocates believe that anti-drunk driving technologies could be effective in further reducing drunk driving accidents and fatalities by more than 25 percent, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Two new technologies could be utilized to prevent drunk driving accidents. One line of research involves driver monitoring systems, which would use sensors inside the vehicle to detect signs of distracted or impaired driving. The system would warn the driver of his or her unsafe behavior. The second technology, alcohol detection systems, would read a driver‘s breath to determine whether the driver is intoxicated. The technology could prevent the vehicle from starting when the system detects a positive result.

Many drivers would approve of having these technologies in their vehicles, provided that the systems do not otherwise interfere with the normal operation of the vehicle and do not add to the vehicle’s cost. According to news reports, some advocates are calling for auto manufacturers to outfit more vehicles with these types of safety systems.

Driver Monitoring Systems Can Detect Signs of Impaired Driving

Vehicle manufactures are beginning to develop driver monitoring systems. These systems use cameras and other sensors to watch the driver for telltale signs of distraction, fatigue, and impairment, such as taking their eyes off the road or hands off the wheel. When these systems detect signs that a driver is not focused on the road, the vehicles can give visual and audio warnings to remind drivers to pay attention.

More advanced systems could look at behaviors that indicated impaired or drowsy driving, such as drifting out of the lane, changing lanes without signaling, failing to maintain a constant speed, or failing to keep up with traffic. Many vehicles are already equipped with lane-keeping technology. Safety advocates are hopeful that the whole suite of systems will result in fewer crashes and, consequently, fewer injuries and deaths.

Alcohol Detection Systems Use Sensors

The proposed alcohol detection systems are a significant advance from the ignition interlock systems that many people convicted of DUI are required to install on their vehicles. People convicted of drunk driving who use ignition interlock devices often have lower rates of repeated arrests for drunk driving.

Newer systems have the potential to be even more effective. Rather than requiring a driver to blow into a tube, the proposed alcohol detection systems would use passive sensors that measure alcohol in the ambient passenger cabin air as the driver breathes.

How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help

If you’ve been injured in a drunk driving car accident, let an experienced attorney from Joye Law Firm help you to pursue accountability and compensation for the harm you have endured. Our attorneys are available to:

  • Advise you of your legal rights and options for recovering compensation for your injuries
  • Investigate the accident to recover evidence of the other driver’s intoxication and fault for the crash
  • File your claim with the drunk driver’s insurance company before any applicable deadlines expire
  • Handle settlement negotiations with attorneys and insurance adjusters for fair and full compensation for you
  • Take your case to court and pursue your drunk driving injury claim all the way to trial if necessary

If you have been injured in a car accident caused by a drunk driver in South Carolina, speak with a knowledgeable S.C. car accident lawyer at Joye Law Firm about your ability to seek financial compensation from the drunk driver responsible for your injuries and losses. Contact Joye Law Firm or give us a call at 877-941-1019 today for a free, no-obligation consultation.

About the Author

Mark Joye is the Head of the Litigation Department at the Joye Law Firm. A Board-Certified Trial Advocate with nearly 30 years of litigation experience, he currently serves on the Board of Governors for the American Association for Justice and is a past president of the South Carolina Association for Justice. In a recent trial, Joye headed a trial team that secured $17 million for a family killed in a tractor-trailer accident.

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