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Technology and Drink Driving

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Drink driving – could tech make it a thing of the past?

Improvements in technology are attempting to solve many of the world’s problems. Education can now reach those that would otherwise have no access to it. Revolutionary changes in energy will reduce our environmental impact, and advances in machine learning is allowing illnesses and treatments to be identified more accurately than ever before. The aim of these technological developments is to address problems that people observe in our society.

Injuries sustained from traffic accidents are the third highest cause of preventable mortality in the UK. Technological improvements are directly addressing health-related issues, and the future looks to address the leading causes of physical injury as well.

While most of the cases tackled by our drink driving solicitors are for minor motoring incidents and charges, it remains true that a significant proportion of the UK’s fatal traffic accidents are alcohol-related. Addressing this problem would dramatically cut down preventable deaths in the UK. While current government campaigns are effective at reducing drink driving, it seems unlikely that they will completely stop it alone.

New technologies are being developed that take the control out of the hands of those under the influence. A device known as an Alcohol Interlock can prevent individuals with blood alcohol content  that is above the legal limit from starting their car. This can be achieved by using a breathalyser, however this would be inconvenient for the majority of occasions where there is no chance of the user having consumed alcohol. Potential new developments would allow an ignition button that can measure blood alcohol levels via the use of an infrared light.

Initially it is proposed that these devices will be fitted by employers to their commercial vehicles. Equipping every private vehicle with an interlock device would be expensive and unnecessary, however fitting them by law to the vehicles of previous offenders would be more realistic. Reoffending rates are as high as 25%, so these preventative measures would be a substantial victory against drink driving. Where education and awareness campaigns have been ineffective, a different approach needs to be taken.

Further into the future there is the prospect of driverless cars. When these become accessible to the public, UK drink driving law will surely be due a change – but how, remains to be seen. As drivers will not need to be in control of the vehicle, the blood alcohol level of the driver could one day be seen as irrelevant. For now, though, technological advances will not negate the requirement of a capable driver.

While the future is as uncertain as ever, solutions to current societal problems are being developed. The development of alcohol interlock devices will prevent commercial drivers from drink driving, and could prevent high-risk individuals from driving under the influence. Driverless cars will drastically change the entire private car landscape, including drastically reducing premature deaths from driving.

If you or someone you know is facing a drink driving charge and needs legal guidance, contact our expert drink driving solicitors for a free consultation today.