As of February 2011, the federal Research of Alcohol Detection Systems for Stopping Alcohol-Related Fatalities Everywhere Act, which is also referred to as the ROADS SAFE Act, is still just a bill sitting in the U.S. Senate. If passed, however, the Act could have a significant effect on drunk driving nationwide.
The ROADS SAFE Act offers the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) an additional $6 million in federal funding for the next five years to research ways to use technology to prevent drivers from operating their vehicles when under the influence of alcohol. The bill’s sponsors, Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) and Senator Bob Corker (R-TN), are especially interested in finding technology that is cheap, reliably detects a drier’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 percent or more, and doesn’t impair a sober driver’s ability to drive a car outfitted with the technology.
The NHTSA would use the additional funding to conduct studies and research of technologies that can help prevent drunk driving, such as in-car detection systems that read whether the driver’s BAC is above the legal limit of 0.08 percent. The money may be used by the NHTSA’s own researchers, or it may be distributed as grants to private researchers to help create and distribute alcohol detection systems. Several interest groups support the bill, including the Distilled Spirits Council and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).