Infrastructure bill to mandate anti-drunk driving tech in future cars

Credit Joe Biden Facebook


The infrastructure bill which has been signed into law by President Joe Biden, has mandated that new cars should be provided with technology that can prevent drunk driving. This has raised some questions among a few though others have been happy that finally Congress is taking note of their concerns about the huge number of accidents that are caused by drunken drivers. The mandate is under the $17 billion road safety programs.

The bill also asks for a host of other safety features to be provided. Some of the other provisions required over time include

automatic emergency braking in cars and trucks
rear underride guards in trucks
improved headlights.
rear seat reminders
lane departure warnings

The NHTSA has reported that roughly 10,000 people die every year across the nation from accidents that are caused by drunk drivers. Some automakers including Nissan, GM and others already provide infrared cameras. The bill requires technology to be developed that could “passively monitor the performance of a driver of a motor vehicle to accurately identify whether that driver may be impaired”, according to a report by Engadget.

Auto manufacturers will have to instal monitoring systems that can detect whether drivers are impaired by 2026. Although advocacy group Mothers Against Drunk Driving called the new requirement “the single most important legislation” passed in recent times analysts are looking at other reasons.

They are looking at whether liability would be personal or corporate safety liability. The question they could be considering according to a report in Fortune website is whether an automaker would also be responsible if a drunk driver is able to override a malfunctioning system.

The National Transportation Safety Board has three years to implement the new rule. Then automakers will be given sufficient time to implement the rules in their vehicles. Rules might also be be framed specifically for autonomous vehicles as their numbers will definitely increase by then.

Some automakers have already added a few of the safety features required in their autonomous vehicles and can add more in future. What is uncertain is whether liability will remain personal or will it will be the responsibility of the automaker? This question will also need to be considered by the law.


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