Every year in Connecticut and across the U.S., an average of 11,000 people die in crashes relating to drunk driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. By contrast, about 500 people die in crashes relating to phone use behind the wheel. For a century now, drunk and drugged driving has been the number one cause of car accident fatalities in this country. Technology is slowly doing something about this.
Among automakers, Volvo is the first that will be manufacturing a vehicle safety system that specifically monitors drivers for intoxication and intervenes when drivers are clearly found to be drunk. It intends the have the tech ready in five years. There is nothing necessarily new about the system; it simply combines the features of preexisting systems.
The system will consist of in-car cameras that track eye movement as well as monitors that look for other concerning factors like the prolonged lack of steering input, an excessive weaving in and out of lanes and extremely delayed reaction times.
Upon noticing these warning signs, the system will make the car slow down and safely park on its own. Drivers must then respond to a call from the system; if they do not, the system will contact local first responders, giving the vehicle’s location and description.
Drunk driving accidents can end, if not in death, in catastrophic injuries. In Connecticut, those who are injured at the hands of a drunk driver or other negligent driver can file a claim against that driver’s insurance company if their own degree of fault is 51% or less. With a lawyer, victims might be able to achieve a fair settlement out of court that covers medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and more. They may file for punitive damages, too.