The US wants to stop driving under the influence of alcohol by any tech ... tech
Every 52 minutes, someone in the U.S. dies in a driving accident under the influence of alcohol… According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), every year, approximately 10,000 people are killed as a result of accidents associated with alcohol, which translates to near 30% of all traffic deaths.
Despite the laws, fines and penalties to ban driving under the influence of alcohol, people still get behind the wheel after drinking alcoholic beverages. And if we can't stop them from making this reckless choice, we may be able to stop them from driving altogether.
That is what Congress is trying to do as part of the $ 1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill, which includes a mandate for anti - alcohol driving technology in new cars.
On Tuesday, the Infrastructure Investment and Works Act passed Congress with the full measure, AP reports, and is expected to sign President Biden soon.
What the command is about
In essence, the legislation mandates carmakers to introduce technology that detects and stops drunk drivers as early as 2026.
For now, the bill is not very specific and it needs to do something that “patiently monitor the performance of a vehicle driver to determine properly whether that driver may be impaired. ”
The Department for Transport must decide what type of technology solution would be most appropriate, and based on that decision manufacturers must be appropriate.
What kind of options are available?
Currently, some convicted drivers are required to blow into a breathalyzer tube attached to the burner. If their blood alcohol level is found to be too high, the car will not start.
Naturally, a breathalyzer would not be an option that scale makers could make. I mean, who would want to blow into a tube every time they start their car?
But there are a large number of programs and companies that already focus on anti - alcohol driving technology, or that could use existing technology in that regard.
One promising technology on the horizon is the Alcohol Safety Assurance System (DADSS) System Program. It has been jointly developed since 2008 by the NHTSA and the Automotive Consortium for Traffic Safety (ACTS), which includes 16 major manufacturers.
The tech it automatically detects when a driver is intoxicated with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at or above 0.08% - the legal limit - and prevents the car from moving.
This is accomplished in two ways: a respiratory system and a massage system.
In the first case, the breathalyzer running the driver’s breath through an infrared light beam to work out their BAC. Second, the technology measures alcohol levels below the surface of the skin, when drivers place their fingers on control buttons or the steering wheel.
Likewise, Nissan has created driver ban concept car able to detect the smell of alcohol, which also uses cameras to see driving impairments.
In fact, the infrared cameras that many car manufacturers like GM and BMW use for their semi-automated driver assistance systems to monitor driver insensitivity could look for signs of sleep or loss consciousness.
Of course, developing smart technology to detect alcohol properly will not be easy or immediate. And even when it does, the drivers of old cars would remain unrecognized.
The mandate of the bill is undoubtedly an important start, but perhaps the US should consider implementing other temporary measures in the meantime, given the seriousness of the situation. We are four years away from 2026 and, based on the NHTSA average, an additional 40,000 lives will have been lost by then.
Updated November 12, 2021: More videos