This Chicago DUI attorney has posted here, and here about the future. Specifically, about technology overtaking the ability to even get charged with a DUI, well not exactly true because in Illinois you can get charged with a DUI even if you aren’t driving, but that’s another post.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that driving while under the influence of alcohol is a bad idea. Of course, when under the influence of alcohol the tendency is to think you are a genius (also: good looking, charming, interesting, a qualified referee, good at billiards). So a new technology incubating with the backing of the U.S. Department of Transporation would install sensors in automobiles than unobtrusively each time they climb behind the wheel.
The Driver Alcohol Detection Systems for Safety, developed by Waltham, Mass.-based QinetiQ North America, would employ sensors that would test a drivers BAC either through his or her breath or skin. Sensitive breath sensors installed in the cabin could grab respiratory samples from the air to dial in a driver’s BAC, or strategically-placed sensors on the steering wheel and door locks could analyze a driver’s skin to get a BAC reading before allowing him or her to fire up the engine.
Both technologies are nascent, and government officials admit that neither technology would see a commercial rollout for another decade most likely. Even then, they wouldn’t be mandated. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood attended a demonstration Friday at which he said the tech is envisioned as an option, not a mandate.
Which is good, considering the amount of backlash that such a requirement would likely incur. Even with an issue like drunk driving—which pretty much everyone agrees is universally bad—Americans are already touchy about government regulation of their autos, and layering an automotive regulation on top of what some would surely call blatant government intrusion is a recipe for public ire.
Not to suggest this technology is a bad thing, but do you really think seat belts are mandatory, but this wouldn’t be?