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All new cars may soon have alcohol detection systems

South Carolina residents may know about how some car safety devices can prevent distracted driving and even keep drunk drivers from starting their car. The benefits of alcohol detection tech are becoming so clear that a bill has been proposed to mandate such tech on all new vehicles by 2024.

The bill is called the Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone Act of 2019, and lawmakers believe that if the measures described in it are implemented, they could save 7,000 lives a year. Every day in the U.S., drunk driving crashes claim the lives of some 30 people, which comes to one person every 48 minutes.

The bill would provide funding for research and development to the end of producing a new piece of alcohol detection technology. Whether development teams will work off of existing tech is not clear, but lawmakers are evidently being inspired by the success of ignition interlock devices.

An ignition interlock device is a breath test linked to a car's ignition system. The driver must pass the breath test before starting the car, and while the car is moving, he or she must provide "rolling samples" of alcohol-free breath. Since 2006, it has prevented 3 million attempts by drunk drivers to operate their vehicles.

When car accidents arise because of drunk driving, those who are injured through no fault of their own can pursue a case against the guilty driver's insurance company. Victims may even sue for punitive damages, which go beyond compensation and are meant to punish the defendant. Before taking any action, however, victims may want to speak with a lawyer. With a lawyer's help, they may be able to achieve a fair settlement covering their medical bills, pain and suffering and lost wages.

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