Washington, D.C. (October 18, 2019)—This week Sen Tom Udall (D-NM) and Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) unveiled The Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone Act of 2019—or the RIDE Act for short—which would require alcohol detection devices be installed in all vehicles by 2024 as standard equipment. While intentions behind the legislation are good, real world implementation should leave Americans concerned.
Jackson Shedelbower, American Beverage Institute communications director, released the following statement:
Drunk driving remains a problem in the U.S., but installing alcohol detection devices in all vehicles as standard equipment goes overboard and will not target the root of the problem. Under the current legal blood-alcohol content (BAC) limit of 0.08, most adults can safely and legally enjoy a drink prior to driving. But under the RIDE Act, alcohol detection devices will be set at a much lower level in order to avoid liability. It takes time for alcohol to fully affect the body, so it’s easy to imagine a scenario where someone starts a car below the legal limit, but over the course of driving, their BAC surpasses the 0.08 threshold. Therefore, alcohol detectors will likely be programed to register and react to BACs as low as 0.02 or 0.03 BAC.
We all want to save lives, but criminals should be the ones left stranded without a ride home, not responsible consumers who’ve had a drink with dinner.