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Cars Might be Next in the Crackdown Against Drunk Driving

Denver offers many options for people looking to spend some time out of the house. Whether it is going to see one of the many professional or college sports teams play or just simply meeting friends for a night on the town, there is always something to do.

It is not uncommon for people to have a drink when they attend one of these events. With the harsh penalties in place for a DUI conviction, individuals know that they need to drink responsibly. However, what if one drink was too many? What if your car would not start if you had a drink with dinner?

Congress recently included funding for DUI detecting technology in the just-passed transportation bill. Five million dollars over two years has been put toward the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS).

DADSS would detect the presence of alcohol in a person's bloodstream, either through sensors on the steering wheel, air monitors inside the vehicle or other means of measuring a person's blood-alcohol content (BAC). If a BAC was above the legal limit, the cars would not start. Officials expect to see this technology in all new cars in eight to ten years.

Critics of the proposed changes feel that the cars would be equipped with devices that would be too restrictive. Alcohol can take some time before it is completely absorbed into the bloodstream. In order for vehicles to adequately detect people who might be too intoxicated to drive, the BAC levels may have to be set lower than the legal limit. If limits are too low, this could prevent those who have had a drink while out to eat or at a sporting event from being able to start their vehicles.

Source: USA Today "Alcohol-sensing technology could become standard in all cars" Larry Copeland, June 29, 2012.

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