U.S. Senators Chuck Schumer and Tom Udall are proposing a bill they hope will reduce the amount of drinking and driving across the country. The bill would provide support for a new system called the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety. Besides the proposed bill, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the company behind making the technology are both behind the project.
The technology would improve current methods of detecting alcohol before driving. The new technology uses both breath sensors and touch-based sensors for detections and would prevent a driver from driving if the driver had too much alcohol in the system. The senators are not pushing for the technology to be put in every car, but in the cars of people who have a previous DWI conviction.
If passed, the bill would provide extensive funding to the program and improve the technology. Currently the program is funded at $5 million a year, but if passed the bill would provide up to $48 million.
Potential Legal Challenges
While it is not yet clear what exactly the bill would require, there is some doubt as to whether the federal government would have the authority to require drivers with convictions to install the technology in their cars. The law could be challenged on a number of different levels.
One challenge could come from the fact that state governments are typically in charge of policing drinking and driving laws. Each state has its own laws on drinking and driving, and the ability for them to make those laws comes from the U.S. Constitution. It is possible that if someone with a previous conviction of DWI were required to install this new technology in their car, that person could challenge whether the federal government has the authority to require them to do it.
If that argument were advanced, the government would likely argue that the Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution gives them the authority to require the technology be used. The Commerce Clause gives the federal government the authority to regulate commerce between the states, and courts have historically held this to mean any kind of commerce that moves from state to state or that has an impact on interstate commerce. Obviously cars not only move from state to state, but their use impacts commerce on a great scale.
It would be interesting to see whether this law is passed, and if passed whether it is challenged as an overreach of federal power. As of right now it is not law and any challenge is purely speculative. And given the current political climate, it may never see the light of day.
Contact a Dallas DWI Attorney Today
What is not speculative is the fact that DWI charges are made every day in the Dallas area. At The Wilder DWI Defense Firmwe focus our practice on defending the rights of those charged with DWI in the Dallas and surrounding areas. If you are charged with DWI, contact us. We will ensure that you and your case are our number one priority as we advance every defense possible in your case.