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Virginia: The First State Partnership



Driven to Protect | Virginia is an initiative of the DADSS Program. Individual state governments have partnered with Driven to Protect to help develop technology to eliminate drunk driving and save lives.

The Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) Program, a public-private partnership between the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety (ACTS) and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), is developing advanced vehicle safety technology that can automatically detect when a driver is intoxicated with a blood alcohol concentration at or above 0.08% — the legal limit in all 50 states except Utah (0.05%) — and prevent the car from moving. Virginia became the first state to collaborate with the DADSS Program to support the development and deployment of the DADSS technology. The collaboration — the Driven to Protect | Virginia Initiative — is an example of the technological innovation happening in Virginia.

Real World Testing


The DADSS Program is advancing the state of alcohol detection technology by developing a system that is fast, accurate, reliable, and affordable — all without affecting normal driving behavior.

In 2018, Governor Northam and the Virginia DMV announced a collaboration with the DADSS Program and James River Transportation (JRT) to conduct in-vehicle, on-road test trials. Technology integrators installed prototypes of the breath sensors into vehicles in the JRT commercial fleet. The data and feedback collected from the prototype sensors, as well as from the drivers themselves, have been invaluable to improve the technology as it is prepared for widespread commercialization. JRT vehicles have driven over 77,700 miles with the sensors installed, run the sensors for more than 15,000 hours, and collected more than 98,400 breath samples from participating drivers.

In December 2021, the Driven to Protect | Virginia Initiative announced a collaboration with Schneider, the first truckload carrier to work with the Initiative — marking a new milestone toward widespread deployment of in-vehicle alcohol detection technology. This deployment will help refine the technology by increasing the stress that the system is put under on the road, exponentially increasing the number of miles driven, and exposing the system to new drivers and a wider range of environmental conditions. The effort builds upon Driven to Protect | Virginia’s ongoing collaboration with JRT.

More Resources


In 2021, Virginia reported 6,749 alcohol-related crashes, 247 alcohol-related fatalities, and 4,224 alcohol-related injuries on its roadways. Through Driven to Protect, Virginia continues to put the health and safety of its residents first by educating the next generation about responsible driving behavior and by advancing technology that can prevent additional drunk driving crashes, injuries, and deaths on its roads.

Discovery Hub


In collaboration with the Virginia Department of Education and as part of the Driven to Protect | Virginia Initiative, the Initiative is developing and distributing a series of STEM lessons that put students in the shoes of the engineers and data analysts working on the DADSS technology. Virginia’s leadership in technology and innovation begins in our schools, and by showing students the practical application of their lessons, we can inspire a new generation to build technology that saves lives.

The Initiative has also developed virtual learning modules and video content that show how the technology works, how alcohol affects the body, statistics and laws about impaired driving in Virginia, and more. All of these resources are available to educators through the Virtual Virginia learning portal – earning them continuing education credits – and available to the general public at the Discovery Hub.



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