Congress creates new requirements for automakers to prevent drunk driving

Automakers to install high-tech way to keep from drunken driving
Published: Nov. 9, 2021 at 7:27 PM CST
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WAUSAU, Wis. (WSAW) - Congress may require automakers to find a high-tech way to keep intoxicated people from driving cars.

The mandate is part of President Biden’s $1-trillion infrastructure package that is expected to be signed soon. A provision in that bill would require monitoring systems in all new vehicles that would stop drunk drivers from being able to drive the car.

In 2021, Wisconsin has had 525 driving-related deaths, compared with 509 in 2020 and 469 in 2019.

“There’s absolutely been an increase in incidents in drunk driving,” said Alex Otte, the national President of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. “The estimates for the first 6 months of 2021 came out, and those numbers, fatality numbers are worse than they’ve been in 15 years.”

President Biden’s infrastructure plan will set a new rule-making process. The legislation requires the technology must passively monitor the performance of a driver of a vehicle to identify whether the driver may be impaired.

“So NHTSA will have to look at all the different types of technology that is available and they will have to pick one or a combination of several and mandate them in all new vehicles,” said Otte. “There are 3 different categories of technology, driving performance monitoring, driver monitoring, and alcohol detection.”

The monitoring systems are expected to roll out in 2026.

The change wouldn’t happen until 2026.

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