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Bill aims to standardize drunk driving prevention equipment

Drunk driving presents a serious risk on Florida roadways, and many safety officials are looking for innovative solutions. Every year, 30 people lose their lives in car accidents linked to driving under the influence. There are technologies to stop people from driving drunk. After a DUI conviction, drivers may be required to install an ignition interlock device on their cars. The installation process may be costly, because the products are highly specialized. Drivers with an interlock must blow into the device in order to start their cars. Like a portable breathalyzer, the device measures whether alcohol is present on a driver's breath before allowing the car to spring into motion.

This technology is designed to stop drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel, but its use is largely restricted to a punitive measure after a DUI conviction rather than a standard piece of safety equipment. Some members of Congress want to change that, introducing the Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone (RIDE) Act of 2019. The bill aims to reduce the number of car accidents linked to drunk driving by requiring car manufacturers to develop and install modernized versions of interlock devices on all of their new vehicles by 2024.

Proponents of the legislation say that 7,000 lives could be saved every year due to motor vehicle collisions prevented by the technology. The bill would provide funding to research and develop interlock devices that would be smaller, cheaper and easy to include as standard equipment in new vehicles. The outcome of this research would be evaluated every six months to one year.

For now, drunk driving prevention systems are uncommon on newer vehicles, but motor vehicle accidents continue to take lives. People injured in car accidents caused by a drunk driver may consult with a personal injury lawyer to pursue compensation for their damages.

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