NTSB Wants Alcohol Detection Systems Installed In All New Cars In US

NTSB Wants Alcohol Detection Systems Installed In All New Cars In US (arstechnica.com)



from the technologically-feasible dept.

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Ars Technica: The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) yesterday recommended that all new vehicles be equipped with alcohol detection systems that can stop people from driving while drunk. The NTSB can’t issue such a regulation on its own but urged the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to do so. The NTSB said it “is recommending measures leveraging new in-vehicle technologies that can limit or prohibit impaired drivers from operating their vehicles as well as technologies to prevent speeding.” If adopted, this would require “passive vehicle-integrated alcohol impairment detection systems, advanced driver monitoring systems or a combination of the two that would be capable of preventing or limiting vehicle operation if it detects driver impairment by alcohol,” the NTSB said. The agency urged the NHTSA to “require all new vehicles to be equipped with such systems.”

Under a US law enacted last year, the NHTSA is already required to examine whether it can issue this type of rule. While drunk driving is a longstanding problem that has caused many deaths, the NTSB said its recommendation was spurred by its investigation into one crash that killed nine people — including seven children — in January 2021 on State Route 33 near Avenal, California. On that two-lane highway with a speed limit of 55 mph, an SUV driver leaving a New Year’s Day gathering “was driving at a speed between 88 and 98 mph,” the NTSB report said. […]

Section 24220 of the Bipartisan Infrastructure LawSection 30111 of Title 49 in US law, it can delay issuing a rule for three years and submit annual reports to Congress describing the reasons for not issuing the rule. Each annual report would also have to contain an update on “the deployment of advanced drunk and impaired driving prevention technology in vehicles.” In writing the law, Congress noted that “in 2019, there were 10,142 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in the United States involving drivers with a blood alcohol concentration level of .08 or higher, and 68 percent of the crashes that resulted in those fatalities involved a driver with a blood alcohol concentration level of .15 or higher.” Congress also cited a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety estimating that “advanced drunk and impaired driving prevention technology can prevent more than 9,400 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities annually.”

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