Much has been written about the recent, multi-year highway bill passed by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by the White House. Included in the new bill is funding of over $21 million to develop alcohol sensing equipment for cars. The funding is meant for major U.S. carmakers to work in conjunction with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
The purpose of this new technology is to disable a car anytime someone with a blood-alcohol level over .08 tries to drive. The technology will be passive and work without any prompting from the driver. As written now, the bill makes installation of the technology voluntary. But there are several critics emerging after the announcement of the funding and the new technology.
Problems With Technology
One of the criticisms of this technology is whether it will actually work to prevent drunk driving or just inconvenience law abiding citizens. Since the installation of the disabling equipment is voluntary, it is argued that the type of person to get this kind of technology would not be likely to drink over the legal limit and drive in any event.
Another perceived problem with the technology is that it would likely strand drivers who are not drunk. The reliability of these sensors at this point is not known, so it could happen that someone who had a small amount to drink would be prevented from driving his or her car if the technology malfunctions. Additionally, alcohol metabolizes over a long period of time. So a person could drink a large quantity of alcohol, get in a car, and then over time become inebriated.
Potential Legal Challenge
As of right now, this technology is optional. But future use of the technology in cars could raise legal challenges. Under U.S. and Texas law, police and other state officials are required to have a search warrant before they can conduct a search and file criminal charges based on what they find. At its core, this technology conducts a search of a driver every time he or she gets in a car. The technology searches to see whether the person has consumed alcohol. If the government then sought to use that information in a subsequent prosecution, it would be challenged as unconstitutional.
At the Wilder DWI Defense Firm we stay up to date on stories such as these and closely monitor changes in the legal landscape involving DWI laws. Defense attorneys are a key piece in our criminal justice system to ensure that the state does not over reach and cross legal lines that exist to protect our rights. We take pride in this role, and as a result we take each and every DWI case as serious as possible. As a defendant to DWI charges, you have rights. The right to go to trial, not act as witness against yourself, and more. We will do everything to protect those rights and get you the best result possible in your case.
If you have been charged with DWI in the Dallas area, contact us. We will evaluate your case for you and provide you with the legal counsel and advice that your case deserves.