San Diego DUI Lawyers Blog posted an article on January 4th, 2013, announcing that Qinetiq, a Massachusetts company, was given a $10 million grant from the federal government and all sixteen major car makers to develop a technology that would prevent a car from operating if a driver has alcohol in their system.
The new technology would be a safety feature in each vehicle much like a seatbelt. And, it would operate much like the ignition interlock devices, or IID’s, that are already being ordered by criminal courts in some drunk driving matters. Current IID’s require a person breathe into the apparatus before the car will start and then continue to provide breath samples while driving to keep the engine running.
These safety devices probably won’t end DUI arrests because they do not detect drugs and the driver can always have a passenger blow into the device. However, have you seen the new car concept by Google? The prototype has no gas pedal, brake, or steering wheel! Instead it uses software and sensors to navigate. All you have to do is enter your destination into a computer and the “vehicle” does the rest. This would eliminate the “driving” element of driving under the influence as the computer sensors and software would be “driving” not a person. This may very well end the need for drunk driving laws and DUI enforcement.
Good news? Not so fast. The concept of a driverless car should make you a little unnerved with all the car computer problems that have been documented within the last few years. There have been many reports of cars that just start, shut off and accelerate without a person doing anything to it. And, we all have had occasions where our computers did not work right. They can get viruses, worms, and other problems that cause errors and I would not want to be in the Google car or driving on the roadway when one of their cars has such a problem. If fact, I would rather have a driver with a .08 BAC on the road with me rather than a robot.
Hopefully, Google will work out all these kinks before it launches its pilot program in California.