Drunk driving accidents are a huge problem across the country. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), close to 1/3 of all traffic fatalities each year are caused by or involve a driver who was intoxicated at the time of the crash. That percentage equates to around 10,000 people a year losing their lives to drunk driving.
How can the U.S. tackle the nationwide problem of drunk driving effectively? The answer might lie in developing legislation that aims to change the way cars are made and sold in the future.
As part of President Biden’s controversial and historic infrastructure deal, the Department of Transportation (DOT) will gain funds to research the best anti-DUI technology for vehicles. Depending on what the DOT concludes, the chosen tech could then become a necessary standard feature in all cars sold in the U.S., starting around 2026 or a bit later. Because the DOT still needs to conduct its research, it is not absolute that this will become a requirement, but it is a safety concept that is difficult to refute. Everyone agrees that drunk driving accidents need to be stemmed and soon, and this proposed measure could certainly make a huge difference in saving lives.
What Anti-DUI Tech is There?
A leading concept for anti-drunk driving car features that could become an industry standard is in-dashboard breathalyzers. Such technology already exists, and it is fairly effective at stopping drunk drivers. The breathalyzer requires the driver to puff into it before the car can start. A blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level above a preset limit – likely 0.08 if the technology becomes required – will not allow the engine to turnover.
Although, puffing into a breathalyzer just to move your car out of the garage could get frustrating. Another proposed technology involves onboard sensors that look for driving issues like straying out of lanes, erratic braking, and other unsafe behaviors usually exhibited by drunk drivers. If the car is in motion and notices too many of those problems in too short a period, then it can warn the driver to take corrective action. If the problems continue after the warning, then the vehicle could automatically steer itself off the road and shut down. This technology could be expensive, though, so it might not be the right option either.
What Can Be Done Now?
Waiting until 2026 or later to take action against drunk driving is not exactly ideal. Many politicians, lawmakers, and safety groups are critical of the proposed law because it isn’t fast enough. The solution could be to plan on making anti-DUI tech standard in cars when it becomes reasonable but also continue safe driving campaigns now, like Vision Zero.
For more information about how the infrastructure package could change the safety of all future cars in America, you can click here to view a full article from NPR. If you ever need legal counsel for a car accident claim in Colorado, then make Clawson & Clawson, LLP your first choice. Contact us now to learn more.