Federal Legislation Introduced to Require Alcohol Level Detection Sensors in Vehicles

Last year, a bill was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that would make it mandatory for anyone in the U.S. convicted of a drunk driving charge to install an ignition interlock device for at least six months.

The proposed legislation — known as Alisa’s Law for the daughter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) president Jan Withers who was killed by an underage drunk driver in 1992 — would require states to make it mandatory for ignition interlock devices to be installed in the cars of all convicted drunk drivers for at least six months.

Ignition interlocks require drivers to breathe into a device that detects alcohol before a vehicle can be started. Currently, 24 states have passed similar legislation requiring interlock devices on the vehicles of those convicted of a DUI.

However, U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer is now behind new legislation called the ROADS SAFE Act that would supply funding for the development of Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) technology, a more unobtrusive sensor-based technology that can detect a driver’s alcohol level and disable a vehicle if that level is over the legal limit. He said this new technology is necessary so that sober drivers are not inconvenienced.

Researchers who have been working on the DADSS technology said that it takes less than one second to take the necessary readings and that its performance standards surpass that of other alcohol detection devices like ignition interlock devices. Unlike ignition interlocks, the DADSS technology does not require recalibration or routine maintenance.

Schumer noted that DADSS is also superior to ignition interlocks because it is not vulnerable to hacks, referencing a YouTube video where users are instructed on how to bypass ignition interlocks by using an air mattress inflation tool.

Schumer said that the ROADS SAFE Act would not require the DADSS technology in all vehicles, but would be mandated for those with drunk driving convictions. The Act would allocate approximately $50 million to improve the DADSS technology and make it less expensive for users to install.

The Cogdell Law Firm is a full service criminal litigation and appellate law firm. We provide client-focused representation at all stages of the process, whether our clients are seeking to avoid charges, have been charged, or are seeking reversal of a conviction on appeal. When results matter most, contact Dan Cogdell at (713) 426-2244 or dan@cogdell-law.com.

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