According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, around 11,000 people in Washington and across the U.S. are killed each year in drunk driving crashes. This is nearly three times the number of people who die in crashes involving phone use behind the wheel. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs has been the leading cause of car crash fatalities for over a century in this country.
There is alcohol detection technology available that can prevent drunk drivers from even starting their vehicles. Other in-car technology is designed to monitor drivers for any unsafe behaviors in general and automatically slow the car down when drivers run the risk for a crash. However, Volvo may be the first automaker to create tech that combines these features.
Volvo’s system will mainly use in-car cameras that track eye movements. Rather than simply slowing a car down, the system will cause it to park safely upon detecting an impaired driver. If the driver does not respond to a call from the system, the technology will contact local first responders and give them a description of the vehicle and its location through an in-car telematics system.
Volvo intends to have the technology ready within five years. The automaker gave a press release on the technology early in 2019.
Because drunk driving is behind many car collisions, it is also a factor in many personal injury claims. Victims of drunk driving can sue for not only compensatory damages, which cover things like medical bills and lost wages, but also punitive damages, which are meant to punish the defendant. To see how much they might be eligible for, victims may wish to see a lawyer. The lawyer may be able to determine if the case is valid under Washington’s comparative negligence law.