Congress obliges drunk driving technology for American carmakers

The recently adopted $ 1 trillion US infrastructure bill requires new cars sold in the country to have the necessary technology to detect drunk drivers and prevent or stop them from driving, Associated Press reported. However, the bill does not specify the technology that should be used to achieve this goal.

According to estimates of The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) contributes to one-third of all collisions reported in the United States and is responsible for 10,000 deaths each year. 2021 was especially worse with over 20,160 deaths were reported only in the first half of the year. Lawmakers are looking for technology to solve this problem.

Earlier this year, we announced that NHTSA is working on a device that will detect blood alcohol levels (BAC) in drivers use of non-invasive methods such as touch-based sensors and breathing analyzers to control drunk driving. Although this technology was expected to be part of the original equipment by 2027, the recent bill extended the implementation date by one year instead of a passive detection system.

The bill specifies that the new technology “must passively monitor the work of the driver to determine exactly whether this driver can be violated,” Associated Press reported.

Drivers convicted of drunk driving in the United States currently have a breathing analyzer upgraded with an ignition locking system that deactivates the vehicle if the BAC is too high. Although effective, the introduction of such a system for all vehicles would raise objections; therefore, the bill clarified the use of a passive system.

Given the large number of sensors available in cars today, the new technology is likely to include infrared or conventional cameras to monitor driver behavior. The AP announced that car manufacturers such as General Motors, BMW and Nissan are already implementing such systems as part of them automated driver assistance systems, paving the way for much easier acceptance by the end user.

When implemented, the system will monitor the driver for signs of drowsiness or disability and warn him first. If the driver’s behavior does not improve, the car will automatically turn on the hazard warning lights, reduce speed and then stop. To take effect, the Department of Transportation must evaluate the technology, which can be implemented in millions of vehicles sold in the United States, and give carmakers enough time to comply, the bill said.

In addition, the bill also requires car manufacturers to install rear seat reminders for children left in the back seat, a move that can be implemented as early as 2025.

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