Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) – A Non-Regulatory Approach in the Development and Deployment of Vehicle Safety Technology to Reduce Alcohol-Impaired Driving

While government regulations play an important role in ensuring vehicle safety, voluntary approaches to the design and implementation of vehicle safety systems are increasing in importance as vehicle manufacturers deploy safety systems well in advance of, and even in the absence of, government regulations requiring them. This paper provides an overview of regulatory and non-regulatory approaches to vehicle technology development and deployment, and will describe a new, innovative public\private partnership underway to develop an in-vehicle alcohol detection system. In response to concerns about limited progress in reducing alcohol-impaired driving in the United States during the last decade, attention is focusing on technological approaches to the problem. One strategy includes efforts to increase the application of current breath alcohol ignition interlocks on the vehicles of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) offenders. However, in recognition that many alcohol-impaired drivers have not been convicted of DWI, an effort is underway to develop advanced invehicle technologies that could be fitted in vehicles of all drivers to measure driver blood alcohol concentration non-invasively. The Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety (ACTS, a group funded by vehicle manufacturers) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have commenced a 5- year cooperative agreement entitled Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) to explore the feasibility of, and the public policy challenges associated with, widespread use of invehicle alcohol detection technology to prevent alcohol-impaired driving. This paper will outline the approach being taken, and the significant challenges to overcome.