Congress mandates new car technology to stop drunk driving

Washington – Congress has created new requirements for automakers. Find a high-tech way to prevent drunk people from driving a car.

This is obligatory, along with a surge in new spending aimed at improving vehicle safety as road fatalities increase with the $ 1 trillion infrastructure package that President Joe Biden will soon sign. It is one of.

Under the law, surveillance systems are already in place to stop drunk drivers after the transport sector evaluates the best technology for mounting on millions of vehicles and given time for automakers to comply. It will be rolled out to all new vehicles in 2026.

A total of about $ 17 billion has been allocated to road safety programs, according to the Eno Center for Transportation, the largest increase in such funding in decades. Secretary of Transportation Pete Butigeg said on Monday that this could mean more protected bike paths and more green spaces built into crowded roads.


“It’s monumental,” said Alex Otte, National President of Drunk Driving Eradication Mothers. Otte called this package “the single most important law” in the history of the group, which marks the “beginning of the end of drunk driving.”

“It will virtually eliminate the number one murderer on American roads,” she said.

Last month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that an estimated 20,160 people died in road accidents in the first half of 2021. This is the total since 2006, the total for the first half of the year. Pandemic as a factor behind spikes.

Alcohol-related accidents in the United States kill about 10,000 people each year, accounting for nearly 30% of all road fatalities, according to NHTSA.


Currently, some convicted drunk drivers need to use a drunk detector attached to the ignition interlock to breathe into the tube and disable the vehicle if the blood alcohol level is too high. there is. The law does not specify technology, it just needs to “passively monitor the performance of the driver of the car to determine exactly if the driver may be injured.” is.

Sam Buelsamid, chief mobility analyst at Guidehouse Insights, said the most likely system to prevent drunk driving is an infrared camera that monitors driver behavior. This technology has already been introduced by automakers such as General Motors, BMW and Nissan to track the driver’s attention while using a partially automated driver assistance system.

The camera confirms that the driver is looking at the road and looks for signs of drowsiness, loss of consciousness, or disability.

If signs are found, the car warns the driver, and if action continues, the car turns on hazard lights, slows down and pulls to the side of the road.


Abuelsamid said that alcohol detectors are not a viable solution. Many people oppose being forced to breathe into the tube every time they get in the car. “I don’t think it will work for many,” he said.

The mass bill also requires automakers to install backseat reminders to warn parents if a child is inadvertently left in the backseat. According to Kidsandcars.org, about 1,000 children have died from car heat stroke after a total of 54 people in a year since 1990.

On the other hand, Congress has not set a date of compliance, but dozens of rules to avoid death due to the collapse of the front seat back and to issue rules requiring automatic emergency braking and lane departure warning on all passenger cars. Instructed the agency to update safety standards a year ago.


Most automakers have already agreed to make automatic emergency braking standard equipment on most models by September next year as part of a voluntary plan announced last week in the Obama administration.

Butigeg said at a White House briefing that he had traveled the country in recent months and saw too many roadside memorials for those who died in preventable road deaths. Stated.

He pointed out a new $ 5 billion “Safe Streets & Roads for All” program under his department. This program partially promotes healthier streets for cyclists and pedestrians. The federal program he acknowledged acknowledges that the setup can take months and supports the city’s campaign to end road fatalities through a “Vision Zero” initiative. Reduce some roads to shift commuters to public and other modes of transportation.


The law provides at least 15% of state highway safety improvement program funding to address pedestrians, cyclists, and other non-motorway users who account for more than 15% of state collision deaths. Requesting.

“The best way to allow people to move in a good way to congestion and climate is to give them alternatives,” Butigeg said. He described many of them as long-term efforts, saying, “This is the way we do it right for the next generation.”

Still, security advocates urged the transport sector to provide an immediate solution, fearing that the bipartisan bill had missed an opportunity to deal more strongly with the new crisis of road deaths in the United States. ..

They called on the sometimes slow-moving NHTSA to address the unprocessed road safety regulations mandated by Congress almost a decade ago, such as mandatory rear seatbelt reminders. The ministry recently announced in January that it would release a “safety system approach” to road safety that identifies safety behavior for drivers, roads, vehicles, speed, and post-collision medical care.


“In order to lead our country to zero road fatalities, we need to take swift action on comprehensive, common-sense and confirmed solutions,” said the president of highway and vehicle safety advocates. Cathy Chase says. “I have a proven solution. It’s time to take action.”


Chrischer reported from Detroit.

Copyright 2021 AP communication. all rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.

Congress mandates new car technology to stop drunk driving

Source link Congress mandates new car technology to stop drunk driving

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