Virginia: The First State Partnership

Driven to Protect is an initiative of the DADSS Research Program, which empowers states to join the fight against drunk driving by advancing lifesaving safety technology. Powered by a public-private partnership between ACTS and the NHTSA, Driven to Protect offers states the opportunity to test the DADSS alcohol-detection technology on their roads, bringing it closer to widespread commercialization and encouraging consumers to consider advanced sensor technology as a solution to this deadly problem. Virginia was the first state to join the Driven to Protect Initiative, an example of the ongoing technological innovation happening in Virginia.

The Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) Program, a public-private partnership between the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety (ACTS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), is developing advanced vehicle safety technology that can automatically detect when a driver is intoxicated with a blood alcohol concentration at or above 0.08% — the legal limit in all 50 states except Utah (0.05%) — and prevent the car from moving. Virginia became the first state to collaborate with the DADSS Program to support the development and deployment of the DADSS technology.

Real World Testing

The DADSS Program is advancing the state of alcohol detection technology by developing a system that is fast, accurate, reliable, and affordable — all without affecting normal driving behavior.
In 2018, the Virginia DMV announced a collaboration with the DADSS Program and James River Transportation (JRT) to conduct in-vehicle, on-road test trials. Technology integrators installed prototypes of the breath sensors into vehicles in the JRT commercial fleet. JRT vehicles have driven over 98,000 miles with the sensors installed, run the sensors for more than 30,000 hours, and collected more than 145,000 breath samples from participating drivers.

In 2022, the DADSS Program and the Virginia DMV began a collaboration with Schneider, the first truckload carrier to work with the Driven to Protect Initiative — marking a new milestone toward widespread deployment of in-vehicle alcohol detection technology. Building on the ongoing collaboration with JRT, this deployment is helping refine the technology by increasing the stress that the system is put under on the road, exponentially increasing the number of miles driven, and exposing the system to new drivers and a wider range of environmental conditions. In the first months, the outfitted Schneider trucks drove over 140,000 miles, collecting more than 54,000 breath samples from participating drivers.

The data and feedback collected from the prototype sensors, as well as from the drivers themselves, have been invaluable to improve the technology as it is prepared for widespread commercialization.

More Resources

In 2021, Virginia reported 6,749 alcohol-related crashes, 247 alcohol-related fatalities, and 4,224 alcohol-related injuries on its roadways. Through Driven to Protect, Virginia continues to put the health and safety of its residents first by educating the next generation about responsible driving behavior and by advancing technology that can prevent additional drunk driving crashes, injuries, and deaths on its roads.

Discovery Hub

In collaboration with the Virginia Department of Education and as part of the Driven to Protect | Virginia Initiative, the Initiative is developing and distributing a series of STEM lessons that put students in the shoes of the engineers and data analysts working on the DADSS technology. Virginia’s leadership in technology and innovation begins in our schools, and by showing students the practical application of their lessons, we can inspire a new generation to build technology that saves lives.
The Initiative has also developed virtual learning modules and video content that show how the technology works, how alcohol affects the body, statistics and laws about impaired driving in Virginia, and more. All of these resources are available to educators through the Virtual Virginia learning portal – earning them continuing education credits – and available to the general public at the Discovery Hub.

Schneider Joins Driven to Protect | Virginia

Schneider is the first truckload carrier to conduct a trial deployment of the lifesaving DADSS technology and is collecting data on hundreds of thousands of real-world operating miles.

Explore The Discovery Hub

In the Fall of 2020, we launched the Discovery Hub, offering free videos and educational resources — including a series of STEM-inspired lessons — about alcohol-impaired driving and the ways the DADSS technology can prevent it.

Follow Driven to Protect | Virginia on Twitter

Keep up with the latest developments on the partnership between DADSS and the Virginia DMV.