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House of Representatives Passes Infrastructure Bill Containing Provisions Mandating Impaired Driving Technology

In recent years, legislators, MADD, and other interested parties have pushed for legislation mandating that all new vehicles come equipped with alcohol detection systems that prevent people from driving while intoxicated. The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act recently passed by the United States House of Representatives included an Advanced Impaired Driving Technology provision that MADD hailed as the single most important piece of legislation passed in the forty-one years the organization has been in existence. While no one denies the dangers of driving while intoxicated, compulsory alcohol sensors arguably violate people’s rights and could potentially create a host of other issues. If you are charged with a DUI offense in Illinois, it is in your best interest to speak to an Illinois DUI defense lawyer to discuss your rights.

The Advanced Impaired Driving Technology

It is reported that the Advanced Impaired Driving Technology portion of the bill sets forth a standard that MADD anticipates will prevent close to 10,000 drunk driving deaths each year. Further, MADD’s President asserted that the bill will essentially eliminate the leading cause of death on roads throughout the country.  She argued that technology is necessary to stop the dangerous driving tactics of people who fail to make the right choice.

Allegedly, the bill orders the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to begin a rulemaking process and within three years, establish the standard for impaired driving safety equipment on all new vehicles. It is expected that NHTSA will assess technology that may include, among other things, alcohol detection systems that employ sensors to assess whether a driver is intoxicated and if so, prevent their vehicle from moving. Once the safety standard is established, car manufacturers will have two to three years to implement it.

The Potential Pitfalls of Mandatory Alcohol Sensors in Vehicles

Currently, it is unclear precisely what the ultimate outcome of the Advanced Impaired Driving Technology provision will be. If it results in the mandated installment of alcohol sensing technology in all vehicles, though, it could have unintended effects. Specifically, there will be a disparity between drivers of older and newer vehicles, which may result in people operating late model cars being unjustly targeted for suspected DUI.

Further, it is unclear how such alcohol sensing technology will detect a person’s blood alcohol level, and what measures will be used to prevent false positives or ensure that it is the driver’s level, and not the level of a passenger, that is being evaluated. Additionally, it is not defined how such sensors will be calibrated or maintained to ensure that they remain accurate. Incorrect readings may result in parties being left stranded, which can place that at risk of other types of harm.

Meet with a Dedicated Illinois DUI Defense Attorney

If you are charged with a DUI offense, it is advisable to meet with an Illinois DUI defense lawyer as soon as possible. Attorney Theodore J. Harvatin, of the Harvatin Law Offices, PC, is a dedicated DUI defense attorney who can advise you of your potential defenses and help you to seek the best outcome possible under the facts of your case. You can reach Mr. Harvatin via the form online or at 217.525.0520 to set up a conference.

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