The U.S. Congress is working on a $78 billion surface transportation bill as part of the larger $1 trillion infrastructure package. The bipartisan bill includes a significant safety provision that will aim to reduce the number of impaired drivers behind the wheel if it becomes law. Around 10,000 people are killed each year due to alcohol-related crashes in the U.S., according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
Alongside funding for Amtrak and electric vehicles (among many other things), the bill would establish a new “advanced drunk and impaired driving prevention technology safety standard.” This standard would go into effect at least three years after the bill is signed and will require new vehicles to have technology that prevents impaired drivers from being able to operate them. This new legislation is similar to previous bills introduced in Congress, such as one in 2019 that aimed to install alcohol detection systems by 2024.
The bill doesn’t specify what kind of anti-impaired driving technology would be part of this standard, just that NHTSA will verify that it’s effective. Currently, ignition-interlock devices with breathalyzers that prevent the driver from starting the car if alcohol is detected are commonly used in the U.S. for those who have been convicted of drunk driving.
Read the article at Car and Driver.