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Alcohol detection may soon become standard for new cars

Residents of Minnesota may be interested to know that a bill has been proposed that would mandate the installation of alcohol detection technology in all new cars by 2024. The bill comes at an important time. Drunk driving crashes are killing an average of 30 people a day in the U.S., and this comes to about one person every 48 minutes. Lawmakers believe the bill could save 7,000 lives every year.

One alcohol detection system, the ignition interlock device, has already been proven to be effective. This device is basically a breathalyzer attached to the car's ignition. If the driver's BAC is determined to be above the legal limit, the car will not start. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, IIDs prevented 348,000 attempts by drunk motorists to start a car in 2018. Since 2006, 3 million such attempts were averted.

One additional benefit of IIDs is that they require "rolling samples" of the driver's breathing while the vehicle is in motion. This reduces the ability of drivers to have someone sober blow into the breathalyzer. Still, drivers can trigger a false positive with mouthwash or fruit juice on their breath.

The bill would fund research and development toward a new alcohol detection system. Whether development teams will work with existing tech is not clear.

Those who intend to pursue a personal injury case after being injured by a drunk driver may want to have their case evaluated by an accident attorney. In Minnesota, victims can recover damages if their degree of fault is equal to or less than the other side's. An attorney may help by hiring investigators and other third parties to build up a case. Legal counsel could also handle the negotiations for a settlement out of court.

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