The truth is, drunken driving stays one of the vital important threats to highway security. By Dec. 8, Virginia had already surpassed the whole variety of deaths for alcohol-related crashes in 2019 (253 in contrast with 249), representing greater than 1 / 4 (30 %) of roadway fatalities within the commonwealth. Moreover, preliminary knowledge signifies alcohol-related driving led to greater than 3,500 accidents in 2020.
These might be your loved ones members, pals, colleagues or neighbors — and the consequences could be devastating and lifelong.
Given these troubling statistics and our mission to be a frontrunner within the combat towards drunken driving, Virginia jumped on the alternative to affix a first-of-its-kind technological answer that tackles this drawback. The Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) program is creating superior alcohol sensors with the flexibility to unobtrusively and exactly detect the blood alcohol stage of a driver.
This technique is completely different from something available on the market or in growth. If the sensor detects a blood alcohol focus (BAC) of 0.08 or greater — the authorized restrict for driving within the commonwealth — the car will begin however not transfer. This expertise, when accessible, may drastically scale back the variety of drunken-driving deaths in Virginia.
Based on a study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, equipping all automobiles with such an alcohol detection system may stop greater than 1 / 4 of fatalities on U.S. roadways, saving greater than 9,000 lives annually. Earlier than this promising expertise can come to fruition, it requires rigorous testing to make sure its reliability. Constructing public help can be key to selling widespread acceptance amongst vehicle producers and drivers. That’s the place Virginia is available in.
Virginia is thought for prioritizing innovation, and we had been excited to be the primary state companion to affix the DADSS program on the Driven to Protect initiative to deliver this lifesaving expertise to the commonwealth and take a look at it on our roads. We consider within the objective and potential of this instrument and are dedicated to serving to it proceed to advance.
Since August 2018, the initiative has partnered with James River Transportation (JRT), a family-owned transportation firm that has served Virginians for almost 100 years, to check prototype alcohol detection sensors in its fleet automobiles. This partnership is already serving to put together the expertise to be road-ready. Within the first two years, JRT fleet automobiles drove almost 52,000 miles and gathered greater than 46,000 breath samples from sober drivers. DADSS program engineers have used this real-world knowledge, together with suggestions from JRT drivers, to enhance the expertise and make it prepared for its eventual integration into automobiles so it may be provided to customers as an non-obligatory security function.
In 2019, Pushed to Shield attended occasions all around the commonwealth to present Virginians a firsthand expertise with the prototype sensors. Although the coronavirus pandemic has paused in-person engagements since early 2020, Pushed to Shield has launched a set of on-line assets to supply the identical in-depth take a look at the expertise and the event course of. The brand new Discovery Hub has interactive classes and movies designed to teach Virginians in regards to the risks of drunken driving and inform them in regards to the superior expertise Virginia helps to develop to save lots of lives.
All of us have a duty to make our roadways safer, and Virginia takes this duty very severely. When confronted with such persistent challenges as impaired driving, we should proceed to pursue new options. Whereas Virginia stays dedicated to confirmed interventions which might be saving lives day by day on our roads — from training, to ignition interlocks for these convicted of drunken driving, to high-visibility enforcement — we’re additionally proud to be main the nation with Pushed to Shield.
With the fervour and innovation present in our communities, we proceed to harness the ability and promise of this expertise to understand our final purpose. Collectively, we are able to save lives and make it possible for everybody — in Virginia and throughout the nation — makes it residence safely.