Tuesday, April 23, 2024

DUI News Blog

The Latest DUI News and Information From DUI Defense Attorneys Across the Country

Federal Law May Require New Technology To Halt Drunk Driving

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According to an article from The Hill newspaper, as of December 2021 alcohol-impaired crash deaths are at a nearly 15-year high. One now wonders if this increase may be due in part to the greatly reduced number of patrol officers on duty across the U.S. Remember the “Defund the Police” movement that started in 2020?

The Hill article reported that, following the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law passed by Congress in 2021, The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is currently working on creating a new federal safety standard that would require additional technology in all new passenger vehicles to further prevent drunk and impaired driving. The article reveals ongoing research by an industry trade group to prevent drunk and impaired driving.

According to a 2022 recommendation from The National Transportation Safety Board, all new passenger vehicles within the U.S. should be enhanced with alcohol monitoring systems that can effectively prevent an intoxicated person from operating the vehicle. Currently, the NHTSA and a group of 16 automakers are being jointly funded to explore new technology to passively test the driver’s breath for alcohol and disable the vehicle from operation if the driver’s breath exceeds a certain level of alcohol. Accordingly, rather than blowing into a tube, a sensor would analyze the driver’s breath to increase usability and efficiency.  The article also notes that another type of device currently being researched would use “light technology that could test for blood alcohol in a person’s finger.”

The use of ignition interlock devices has undoubtedly saved many lives. However, is this technology something that consumers are willing to pay for in a new car? How accurate or reliable will the new technology be? What do we do when it fails? How do we address drivers impaired by drugs rather than alcohol? These are only some of the issues that we must consider before implementing new technology.


About the Author: Steven Oberman has been licensed in Tennessee since 1980, and successfully defended over 2,500 DUI defendants. Steve was the first lawyer in Tennessee to be Board Certified as a DUI Defense Specialist by the National College for DUI Defense, Inc. (NCDD). Among the many honors bestowed upon him, Steve has served as Dean of the NCDD and currently serves as chair of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers DUI Committee.

He is the author of DUI: The Crime & Consequences in Tennessee, updated annually since 1991 (Thomson-West), and co-author with Lawrence Taylor of the national treatise, Drunk Driving Defense, 9th edition (Wolters Kluwer/Aspen).  Steve has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Tennessee Law School since 1993 and has received a number of prestigious awards for his faculty contributions.  He is a popular international speaker, having spoken at legal seminars in 30 states, the District of Columbia and seven foreign countries.  After being named a Fulbright Scholar, Steve was honored to teach as a Visiting Professor at the University of Latvia Law School in the capital city of Riga, Latvia during the Spring Semester of 2019.  During the Spring Semester of 2023, Steve taught as a Visiting Professor at Eötvös Loránd University Faculty of Law in Budapest, Hungary. If you would like to contact the author, please visit his website at www.tndui.com.

Mr. Oberman would like to thank University of Tennessee undergraduate McAllister Kinser for her assistance in researching and writing this blog post.

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Steve Oberman

Steve Oberman

Since graduating from the University of Tennessee Law School in 1980, Mr. Oberman has become established as a national authority on the intricacies of DUI defense law. Steve is a former Dean of the National College for DUI Defense, co-author of a national treatise ("Drunk Driving Defense" published by Aspen/Wolters-Kluwer), and author of "DUI: The Crime and Consequences in Tennessee" (published by Thomson-Reuters/West). He has taught thousands of lawyers, judges, and members of the general public about the intricacies of this crime. Steve was selected as a Fulbright Scholar to teach American Criminal Law and American Trial Advocacy at the University of Latvia School of Law in 2019; in 2023 taught for a semester as a visiting professor at Eötvös Loránd University (ELTE) Faculty of Law in Budapest, Hungary; and as a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Ljubljana Faculty of Law in 2024. Steve has also presented at a number of judicial conferences in the United States and Canada as well as for law enforcement agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Czech Republic Police Academy. As a Tennessee DUI attorney, Mr. Oberman has successfully defended over two thousand clients charged with Driving Under the Influence of alcohol and/or drugs. In 2006, Mr. Oberman became the first DUI lawyer in Tennessee to be recognized by the National College for DUI Defense as a Board Certified Specialist in the area of DUI Defense law.

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