In November of 2021, Congress passed, and President Biden signed into law, the $1 trillion infrastructure bill. Included in the bill is Section 24220, entitled “ADVANCED IMPAIRED DRIVING TECHNOLOGY.” Much has been said about this by the proponents of such a bill, including MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) and other special interest groups, but how accurate are their predictions?

Will the Bill Mark the Beginning of the End of Drunk Driving?

MADD has indicated that the bill spells the beginning of the end of drunk driving in the US. They have also noted that the bill will mandate invasive machines installed in all new cars, including breath testing devices or transdermal detection devices, to measure the alcohol concentration of your blood passively, and to be able to limit or disable your ability to drive if it detects impairment.

I disagree.

This line of thinking is wholeheartedly problematic for several reasons:

  1. The bill does not require alcohol detection. The bill requires either of two options: a) passive monitoring of your driving itself and/or b) alcohol detection. Given the invasive nature of requiring a breath testing device on every car (not to mention the expense for the car manufacturers and the administrative nightmare of keeping these machines calibrated, validly updated, and monitored), I believe it is far more likely that you will see the first as the recommendation.
  2. The bill does not require anything anytime soon, or perhaps even later. The bill requires that within 3 years, the Secretary make a rule, and within 2 years after that, the auto manufacturers comply with the rule. However, within the bill are provisions to extend this period to 10 years or even more. Given the red tape jungle, the bill will surely create as the recommendations come forward, it's no doubt to this lawyer that the process will be slow and at best ineffective.
  3. Washington State may not allow it at all, given the State's Constitutional right to privacy. Article 1 Section 7 of the Washington State Constitution guarantees our citizens the right to privacy in their lives without legal authority to interfere. The nature of the technology the news and MADD are banking on is the most invasive type of search of a human. A search for something biologically contained in their bodies. It is hard to believe that this will or can stand in our State.

Of course, as with all things, time will tell.

Attorney Jonathan Dichter, founder of DUIHeroes, focuses his practice on driving under the influence cases. He is well-versed in the laws, technology, and science behind these matters.

For DUI defense in Snohomish County, contact us by calling (425) 296-9358 today.