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Drunk Driving Monitoring Systems May Soon Be Required in U.S. Vehicles

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connecticut criminal defense lawyerIn Connecticut and many other states, people who have been convicted of driving under the influence (DUI) or related offenses such as vehicular manslaughter are required to have an ignition interlock device (IID) installed in their vehicle. This device requires a driver to give a breath sample, and it will prevent a vehicle from starting if the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) is above a certain level. These devices can be inconvenient for drivers, but many people believe that they are necessary to ensure that drivers who have violated drunk driving laws in the past will protect others’ safety. However, a new law may require that similar devices be used in many more vehicles, even for drivers with a clean driving record.

Infrastructure Bill Contains Provisions for Drunk Driving Monitoring Systems in New Vehicles

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which is currently being considered in the U.S. Congress, includes provisions that would require all passenger vehicles manufactured after 2027 to be equipped with “advanced drunk and impaired driving prevention technology.” This is one of several types of automotive safety technology that the bill would mandate, and others include automatic braking and crash avoidance systems and systems meant to prevent leaving children unattended in hot cars.

There are several concerns about how drunk driving prevention technology would work in practice. Unlike the IIDs that are required to be used by those who have been convicted of DUI, the technology mandated in the bill would be passive, meaning that it would monitor a person’s BAC and performance without the need for the driver to take any additional actions. Some detection systems that are currently being developed monitor alcohol levels in a driver’s breath by measuring the air in a vehicle’s cabin, while others use touch sensors to measure blood alcohol levels when a driver presses a button to start the vehicle. While these devices may work in theory, it remains to be seen whether they will reliably prevent drunk driving or whether they may lead to false positives that would prevent a person from driving a vehicle even when sober.

Privacy advocates have also raised concerns about how the data collected by these devices would be used and stored. Modern vehicles already collect a great deal of information about a driver’s activities, and due to poor security, this data can often be easily accessed by law enforcement officials or other parties. If information about a driver’s blood alcohol levels or their use of other substances is also captured and saved by a vehicle, it could potentially be used as evidence in a criminal case.

Contact Our Hartford, CT DUI Defense Attorney

At the Woolf Law Firm, LLC, we provide representation for people who have been charged with driving under the influence or other related offenses, and we also work with our clients to help them understand how digital evidence may play a role in criminal cases. If you are facing criminal charges, we can help you determine whether data captured by a vehicle or other electronic devices will affect your case, and we will work to ensure that any evidence that is obtained illegally will not be used against you. To set up a free consultation and get legal help with your case, contact our Connecticut criminal defense lawyer at 860-290-8690.

Sources:

https://www.vice.com/en/article/dyvk9z/every-car-made-after-2027-may-have-drunk-driving-monitoring-system

https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/3684

https://portal.ct.gov/DMV/Suspension/Suspension/Ignition-Interlock-Device-Program

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