Thanks to a mandate from Congress, automakers will be required to equip vehicles with technology that will prevent drunk driving.
The mandate is a part of the $1 trillion infrastructure package that is expected to be signed by President Joe Biden.
The biggest challenge at the moment is for the Transportation Department to figure out what the best technology to use. The new systems to monitor intoxicated drivers could be installed in all new vehicles as early as 2026.
In case you’re wondering, no, drivers won’t be required to blow into a breathalyzer in order to start their car. Instead, the mandate requires technology that will passively monitor the performance of the driver to determine whether or not they’re impaired.
According to KTUL, Alex Otte, national president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving says the mandate is the most important legislation in the group’s history, calling it “the beginning of the end of drunk driving.”
So far this year, traffic deaths are at the highest they have been in 15 years, according to a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). An estimated 20,160 fatalities due to traffic collisions were reported during the first half of 2021, the largest half-year amount since 2006.
The NHTSA sent out a tweet in September pointing out the fact that driving behaviors have changed since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The NHTSA estimates that 28 people are killed in drunk-driving related incidents every day. That comes out to one fatality every 52 minutes.
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