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The New Car Option-Alcohol Detection.

March 30, 2011

Within 10 years there may be more options on your car than you bargained for. According to an article I read in USA Today, “proposed federal funding for alcohol-detection devices could make them available as a new car option within 8 to 10 years.” National organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers are hopeful this newest addition will keep drunk drivers off the road permanently. Currently, convicted drunken drivers’ vehicles with installed breathalyzer require drivers to blow into them, often repeatedly, in order to unlock their ignition. The new devices would “use sensors that detect alcohol (such as) a button, or (a sensor) that gauges the alcohol on a driver’s breath by testing the air.” If it alcohol detector reads any level above the legal limit of .08 the car will not operate for several hours. This proposed detector is sponsored by Senator Tom Udall of New Mexico and Senator Bob Corker of Tennessee. They plan on redirecting “$60 million in highway safety money over five years to a government-industry research project developing a prototype alcohol detection device for cars.” Their hope is that these new detectors, while optional, will encourage car insurance companies to drastically cut rates for drivers who choose vehicles equipped with the alcohol detector. In turn, with the enticement of super low rates, more consumers are expected to drive these no-nonsense vehicles.

Laura Dean-Mooney, the national president of MADD, said that while “We’ve worked on behavior modification for the last 30 years, we’re still killing almost 11,000 Americans a year.” The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS)  was quoted as saying, “alcohol detection devices would have saved 8,000 lives in 2008 if they were on all cars.” According to USA Today, in a survey completed by the IIHS in 2009 “two out of three respondents thought the devices were a good or very good idea for all vehicles.” There are however, some who oppose this new alcohol detector. The American Beverage Institute believes the “bill’s backers are being disingenuous by insisting the technology will be voluntary.” Regardless of it being voluntary or not, I see nothing but good from this new proposal. When I was taking drivers education classes the one thing that was drilled into our heads was, driving is a privilege not a right. So if that’s true, then why shouldn’t we have to prove our sobriety in order to operate a deadly weapon. Driving drunk is illegal anyway so whats the harm in the government saying, hey we aren’t taking your word anymore prove it. If you happen to be someone who likes to drive drunk, then I suggest you learn the bus routes or memorize a local cab phone number, that is before you end up either killing yourself or someone else.

Saving 8,000 lives is no small matter. Aside from being a responsible adult, the possibility for discounted car insurance rates should be more than enough incentive. Would you drive a car that came equipped with an alcohol detector? What if it meant you paid more for the car? Here at GAI (www.gunwel.com) we would love to hear your thoughts. By letting us handle your 2010 tax return we can ensure you get the most out of your return, just think you can save that cash for your new car! So give us a call at 212-979-6830 or stop by for a visit. We are open Monday-Friday 8am-8pm and Saturdays 8am-5pm.

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