New Device Could Help Reduce Drunk Driving Deaths

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Instances of drunk driving keep going up, but soon there could be a device that helps stop that.

Christine Alexander knows the pain a drunk driver can cause because she was one.

When she got in the car that fateful night in 2004, she said she didn’t know how intoxicated she was. She had a blood alcohol level twice the legal limit.

“I didn’t think that I was that intoxicated,” Alexander said. “I thought I was fine to drive.”

Driving home from a bar, she crashed into her boyfriend Richard Hale’s motorcycle.

He died. She went to jail.

In 2015, 10,265 people died in alcohol-impaired crashes, an increase of nearly 300 from the year before. 2016 could be even deadlier.

“If you’re drinking, don’t drive,” advises National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Mark Rosekind. “We’re seeing these increases that we have not seen in 50 years. It’s tragic.”

Rosekind said they are “trying to figure out” why the numbers are increasing.

NHTSA is hoping new technology will reduce the number of drunk-driving deaths. It uses sensors to measure a driver’s blood alcohol level. If it’s too high, the car won’t start.

But for Christine Alexander, it’s too late.

“Every waking moment, you live with it and you can’t take it back,” she said.

Virginia is planning to start testing the drunk-driving prevention technology next year.  That system could start showing up in as an option in new cars by 2020.

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