Categories // 2013, DUI Defense
Alcohol's ability to impair psychomotor performance and to produce behavioral changes has been well documented throughout history. The use and especially perceived abuse of alcohol has always had a negative impact on society. spawning such activist groups as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (M.A.D.D) and the National Motorsits Association (N.M.A.). As early as 1843 the affects of alcohol on the human body became well documented and employers recognized its affects on transportation accidents. In the late 1800′s, the New York Central Railroad prohibited its employees to drink while on duty. In 1910 the New York City traffic code noted that the misuse of alcohol was a factor in traffic safety.
The increasing use of automobiles was also accompanied by an ever-increasing awareness safety issues, not only in factories, but also on the roads and in the home. The formation of the National Council for Industrial Safety in 1912, which became the National Safety Council in 1914 was a significant step in the promotion of the safety movement in the United States. By 1924 the National Safety Council expanded its interests to include highway safety, and therefore, by implication, to the effects of alcohol on driving. The work of this organization has been continued and expanded by the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Today, an appropriate technology for use in the automobile to stop DUI before it happens has yet to be devised, however we have technology that will prevent you to drink, drive and operate your motor vehicle. The most common technology in use today is the Breath Alcohol Ignition Interlock Device or BAIID. However, these devices are used only after a person has been convicted of DUI. In order for a technology to reach wide-spread use and public acceptance it must be inexpensive, reliable and passive.
In May 2011 a paper was published in the International Journal of Computer Applications suggesting that a driver’s EEG brain waves be monitored as a way to reduce the deaths caused by drunk drivers. According to the paper:
Drunken driving and its subsequent catastrophe can be avoided by monitoring the EEG of the driver. The power of the EEG signal in frontal region decreases with the increase in the amount of alcohol intake, and the power of the EEG signal in central, occipital region increases. Therefore, power spectral density can be used as a parameter to differentiate EEG of alcoholic from nonalcoholic, thereby reducing drunken driving.
The article authors suggest that the EEG brain waves be monitored by a skull cap worn by the driver. Specifically, the article indicates:
A cap containing five embedded dry electrodes on the wearer’s forehead and one electrode behind the left ear is proposed to be used to acquire EEG signals. Then, the EEG signals are wirelessly transmitted to a data receiver through Bluetooth, where they are processed in real-time. While this device may pass the reliability test, and possibly also expense test, there is absolutely no way the public would ever accept the mandatory wearing of a skull cap that monitors brain waves as it is far from passive. Also, the article begs the question “monitored by whom?” If this is the best science has to offer it would seem we are a far way off from the dream of using technology to end drunk driving.”
Search and Seizure issues along with an individual’s right to privacy are cornerstones of our democratic society. There is an ever increasing pro-government intrusion movement that allows the erosion of our civil liberties. The US Supreme Court is still considering allowing law enforcement to require a blood draw if they suspect drivers of the suspicion of drunk driving, this brain wave skull cap could be an even bigger intrusion against your civil liberties if allowed to be implemented either pre-DUI arrest or even post-DUI arrest If we allow brain scan function technology to monitor our alcohol intake at what point do we draw the line? Would normal responsible consumption of alcohol be allowed or are we heading to another era of technologically induced prohibition.
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