Earlier this month, New Mexico State Senator Udall attempted to reintroduce a bill that was originally designed to prevent drunk driving. Back in 2008, several vehicle manufacturers and the federal government implemented the Driver Alcohol Detention System. This program was intended to enable researchers to develop a system that could prevent drunken individuals from starting their automobiles. After several years of research, it has been determined that there is a strong possibility that this idea will become a reality.
According to news reports, the project developers released a press release that they have begun producing prototypes of this device. They are currently in the stage of ensuring that the devices abide by all government regulations. The Senator, along with other representatives from various agencies, recently met to see the new technology. The Senator is in the process of reintroducing the bill to ensure that it has the appropriate amount of funding, approximately 12 million dollars over five years, to produce these devices.
Evidently, the device will be able to detect alcohol content on an individual’s breath. Unlike other devices, which usually require the driver to breathe into tubes, this device will detect the breath in the car. It should be able to differentiate between the breath of a driver and that of a passenger. Alternatively, the device may be able to detect driver alcohol content by infrared light underneath the driver’s fingertips.
Many people, including state lawmakers, believe this technology will serve as a deterrent that will prevent people from drinking and driving.
The Prevalence of Drunk Driving in New Mexico
Mothers Against Drunk Driving releases a report of the most recent year’s drunk driving statistics in New Mexico, and, even with many preventative measures put in place, the numbers are still startling. In the past year alone, there have been 93 fatalities as a result of drunk driving in the state. This makes up about 30% of all the traffic deaths in the state. Taxpayers have paid about $465 million in subsidies towards drunk driving fatalities. Of the offenders, about 54,033 were third-time offenders, and 13,712 were fifth-time offenders.
Although the statistics dropped from the prior year, these numbers are worrisome. New Mexico passed a law in 2005 that requires that ignition interlock devices be installed for all those who were convicted of DWI. However, even with this device, there are several thousand drivers who continue to offend and cause accidents. The positive steps that the State is making towards reducing deaths are a necessary effort, but it is important to note that individuals will likely always continue to act recklessly and endanger others.
Have You Been Injured in a Drunken Driving Accident in New Mexico?
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident because of another individual’s drunk driving, it is important you seek medical treatment and contact our office for possible legal representation. You may have a claim, not only if you were in the vehicle that was hit or a pedestrian, but even if you were inside the at-fault vehicle as a passenger. These cases require a significant amount of legal knowledge, and it is imperative you contact an experienced attorney. Contact the Fine Law Firm at 505-889-FINE to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our car accident attorneys.
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