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How technology could help you avoid multiple DWIs

Here in Missouri, as is the case in many other states, any DWI conviction after your first becomes increasingly harsher, oftentimes leading to longer sentences and more severe penalties. Most drivers do not want to incur subsequent DWIs after their first because they know that these DWIs become felonies on their record, affecting everything from their freedom to their ability to drive.

This becomes a major problem for people who are living with a substance-abuse condition. Even though they may not want to incur multiple DWIs and the penalties that follow, their condition makes this goal very difficult to achieve. For these people, as well as anyone else who has multiple DWIs on their record, technology may be the answer to this issue.

As many of our Columbia readers already know, self-driving vehicles are just on the horizon and will be able to provide a safe mode of transportation to those too intoxicated to drive themselves. Widespread use of such vehicles in the decades to come could significantly reduce the number of repeat drunk-driving cases across the nation, including in our own state.

In cases where a driver has the option to exert control over the vehicle, systems similar to ignition interlock devices could be used. The systems would not only be able to tell a driver their intoxication level but it could override the manual driving option by kicking the autonomous driving system into gear. In this instance, a driver can still make it home without fear of a possible drunk-driving charge.

Integrated systems that tell a driver their BAC before they start driving could also be beneficial and a welcomed relief down the road for residents across Missouri. When Section 577.020.1, which is our state's implied consent law, goes into effect in January 2017, refusing to submit to chemical testing could lead to other consequences. In situations such as this, BAC systems integrated into vehicles would become incredibly helpful because they will be able to stop a crime from occurring and prevent a driver from incurring subsequent DWIs as well.

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