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 vehicle technology. Powered by a public-private partnership between the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety (ACTS), which represents the world’s leading automakers, and the federal government, through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), Driven to Protect offers states the opportunity to test new 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
In 2016, Virginia became the first state to join the Driven to Protect Initiative. The program, Driven to Protect | Virginia, continued until September 2023 and remains an example of the ongoing technological innovation happening in Virginia. As the first state to collaborate with the DADSS Program, Virginia helped advance the DADSS technology from early prototype to a more sophisticated system that is on its way towards commercialization in vehicles of the future.
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. Virginia’s work to test the technology in fleet vehicles has been invaluable to improve the technology as it is prepared for widespread commercialization. The data and feedback collected from the prototype sensors, as well as from the drivers themselves, will benefit the DADSS Program for years to come.
In 2018, the Virginia DMV began 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 DADSS 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.
In collaboration with the Virginia Department of Education and as part of the Driven to Protect | Virginia Initiative, the Initiative developed and distributed a series of STEM lessons that put students in the shoes of the engineers and data analysts working on the DADSS technology. The Initiative 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.
From 2016 to 2023, Driven to Protect Virginia participated in events across the state – from baseball games and NASCAR races, to fairs and festivals, to military bases and student leadership events – to talk to Virginians about the DADSS technology and the dangers of drunk driving. By bringing the Driven to Protect Demonstration Vehicle – a vehicle outfitted with the DADSS technology – the initiative gave Virginians an up- close look at the tech and the chance to experience it for themselves.
At each event, the Driven to Protect team engaged with attendees including Virginia safety advocates, new drivers, educators, law enforcement and parents. The team passed out informational flyers and encouraged Virginians to see advanced sensor technology as a solution to the deadly problem of drunk driving. Over the years, Virginians became familiar with the initiative and were excited to learn about how the technology was advancing each year.
Through Driven to Protect, Virginia demonstrated their commitment to putting 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. Read and see more here:
- Watch the launch of Driven to Protect | Virginia
- See more of our partnership with James River Transportation
- See the coverage:
- Lifesaving alcohol detection technology is one step closer to appearing in cars
- Why Virginia is helping develop innovative alcohol detection technology by former Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine
- Could you have to take a breath test to start your car? Virginia testing new alcohol technology
Explore The Discovery Hub
This online learning platform offers 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 Online
Keep up with Driven to Protect Initiative’s work to end drunk driving