Despite stiff penalties and widespread public awareness campaigns, drunk driving continues to present a serious threat to roadway safety in New Jersey. For over 100 years, drunk driving has been the major cause of fatal car crashes, while thousands of people are injured every year in motor vehicle collisions linked to driving under the influence. Some technologies provide possibilities for stopping drunk drivers before they cause a crash. For example, some people convicted of drunk driving may be required to install an ignition interlock device in their vehicles, essentially requiring them to take a breath test before they start driving.
However, automakers also see possibilities to reduce car accidents with autonomous vehicle technologies. Volvo plans to introduce systems in all of its cars in the next five years that could stop a drunk driver. These systems make use of existing autonomous technologies as well as an array of cameras and sensors, without relying on a breath test. Cameras would use algorithms to detect signs linked to drunk driving, such as a driver’s eyes repeatedly closing behind the wheel.
Sensors would also remain on alert for dangerous driving behavior, including a lack of input at the steering wheel, veering wildly from lane to lane or detectable slowed reaction times. If the car noted a combination of these signs, it would begin to alarm, calling on the driver to pull over. If he or she failed to respond again, the autonomous systems in the car could guide it to the side of the road to a stop.
Technologies may provide the hope of removing the threat of drunk driving crashes in the future, but people continue to experience catastrophic injuries on a daily basis. People injured in a crash due to someone else’s negligence might be able to work with a personal injury attorney to pursue compensation for their damages.