The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) thinks a technology known as Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) could help eliminate some or all of the 10,265 drunk driving deaths on U.S. roadways each year.

Currently in development, DADSS will be able to passively detect a driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and prevent drivers from starting a vehicle if they are at or above the .08 legal BAC limit in all 50 states. Federal and Virginia state officials recently announced $5.1 million in funding for DADS, which represents a public-private partnership between the government and the world’s leading automakers.

Virtually drunk

The NHTSA is also using a virtual experience to help users discover the consequences of drinking and driving. Last Call 360 can be used via a mobile phone or computer and creates a virtual bar scene through an interactive 360º video website that uses photospheres, cinemagraphs, videos, and gaming. Visitors are able to interact with virtual bar patrons, play games, watch videos and even order (virtual) alcoholic drinks.

Last Call 360 is part of the agency’s annual Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, which is timed to coincide with the holidays.

Too many lives

“Each year, too many lives are lost to drunk driving, particularly around the holiday season. Now we have an opportunity to prevent future drunk driving tragedies by taking action today,” said U.S. Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.  “We want everyone to be safe this holiday season, which is why we’re urging the public to make the right choice, follow the law and drive sober.”

Through January 1, Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over advertisements will appear nationwide and law enforcement agencies across the country will be on patrol to protect the public from drunk drivers. 

“Drunk driving crashes are no accident – they are 100 percent preventable. They all connect back to human choices and errors,” said NHTSA Administrator Dr. Mark Rosekind.