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Could your new car get you busted for drunk driving?

On Behalf of | Aug 17, 2021 | Drunk Driving

While that may sound far-fetched, if the much-touted infrastructure bill that has already passed the Senate passes the House and is signed into law, that could actually occur. 

One of the provisions in the bill calls for new requirements for new vehicles to use technology that detects whether drivers are drunk behind the wheel. Another proposal is a warning system that alerts motorists that there is a child in the back seat as the drivers exit their vehicles.

How will it work?

While the details are still murky, one suggested system would monitor drivers’ eyes for indications the person is fatigued, distracted or intoxicated. This system would be similar to the horizontal gaze nystagmus test (HGN), which is one of three field sobriety tests police officers use to detect drunk driving.

One of the major problems with this proposal is that the HGN test is notoriously subjective. Also, many people have visual conditions that make passing this test — sober or drunk — virtually impossible.

Would such evidence stand up in court?

This is uncharted territory, so there are bound to be legal challenges to the provision if the bill does indeed pass the House and become law. But that is not very comforting to someone who faces charges of driving under the influence (DUI) here in Maryland because their car transmitted a notification that they were drunk behind the wheel.

Whether it passes or not, Maryland drivers should know that they do have the right to fight back in court against allegations of impaired driving. The consequences of a conviction can be very serious, so make sure that you build a robust defense to the charges.