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Could this one vehicle upgrade save thousands of lives annually?

Well, here’s an upgrade.

The ignition interlock devices that some motorists in Louisiana and nationally are required to use following drunk driving convictions mandate a bit of driver-technology interplay. That is, a would-be driver must blow into an IID and obtain a legal blood-alcohol reading before he or she can start a vehicle.

That process has now been eclipsed by a tech enhancement that reduces required steps and simplifies things. A recent Consumer Reports article duly notes that a newly available on-board alcohol-detection tool “measures blood-alcohol concentration through normal breathing from the driver’s seat.”

Nothing more is required. If the so-called (and this is admittedly a mouthful) Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety is installed in a car, it will preclude any inebriated individual from starting the engine.

Automatically.

Moreover, the DADSS system has proximity acumen. It readily distinguishes between drivers and passengers. If a sober driver is surrounded by other over-the-limit vehicle occupants, no problem: the car will still start.

The next-stage tech is currently being tweaked and progressively revised, with at least one estimate positing that it could take two decades of additional development before all U.S. passenger vehicles are outfitted with DADSS.

Safety industry principals get that, but some say that installation of the best-available detection tool should be required now for all newly manufactured vehicles.

“There’s no need to wait,” says a Consumer Reports’ safety manager. William Wallace urges Congress to imminently “direct NHTSA to require new cars to come with drunk driving prevention technology.”

The need for upgraded tech and widespread installation is glaringly obvious. Federal safety regulators say that a stunning 10,000-plus people die annually across the United States in crashes involving drunk drivers.

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