The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration unveiled new technology last week that safety advocates claim could eventually prevent motorists from drinking and driving.
The technology, knows as Drive Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS), could become a standard feature in automobiles and would either passively measure a driver’s breath for the presence of alcohol or would do so via touch such as a thumbprint.
Our drunk driving defense attorneys in Palm Beach frequently report on the ever-increasing penalties faced by drunk drivers. For now, the technology is most likely to be required for those convicted of drunk driving.
Florida DUI Law currently requires ignition interlock devices for first-time offenders with a blood-alcohol level of .15 or higher or for those who had a child in the car at the time of arrest. The devices may remain on the vehicle for up to six months. Those who face a repeat conviction under the state’s DUI law may have the device installed for two years or longer.
This new technology could be the first step toward requiring offenders to have less intrusive technology in place for much longer. “The technology we are seeing here today could quite simply signal a new frontier in the fight against drunk driving,” said NHTSA Administrator Strickland.
The constantly increasing penalties and lower thresholds for DUI conviction is just one reason we encourage all motorists to fight the charges. First offenses are frequently beatable, while repeat offenses carry the substantial threat of jail time, lengthy license suspensions, mandatory treatment and intrusive requirement of probation, which can lead to additional legal problems.
As we reported recently on our Florida Criminal Lawyer Blog, 63,019 motorists were charged with drunk driving in Florida in 2009.
That’s 173 people every day!
Yet only 36,972 were convicted of drunk driving that year.
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles estimates the average cost of a DUI at as much as $20,000, including fines, court costs, DUI school, monitoring, license reinstatement, impound fees, prison, probation, ignition interlock devices and increased insurance premiums. Spending several thousand dollars to hire an attorney to fight the charge could be the best money you’ll spend.