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New Vehicles Are Required to Have Drunk Driving Prevention Technology


December 22, 2022

According to a news article published on motortrend.com, the next motor vehicle you purchase may require Drunk Driving Prevention Technology.

The Biden administration's infrastructure package includes a mandate requiring auto manufacturers to install technology that detects drivers who are intoxicated. If the technology determines the driver is impaired, the vehicle will not start or will stop. Congress will mandate driver monitoring systems be installed in new vehicles by 2026. 

The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will also fund road safety programs. The Bill will improve pedestrian safety by developing bike paths along busy roadways. These cyclist paths will also be protected so that vehicles cannot cross over into the bike paths and strike pedestrians. The Bill comes at a good time as auto-related deaths have started to begin increasing after decades of progress.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that more than 20,000 people were tragically killed in traffic accidents in the first half of 2021. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration believes that impaired driving is a significant cause of the rise in fatal traffic accidents. The agency stated that 10,000 people are killed in fatal car accidents involving alcohol every year.

The mandated technology needs to passively monitor the driver and accurately determine if that driver is impaired. Drivers convicted of drunk driving are often required to use a breathalyzer device that is connected to the person's car ignition interlock. When the driver blows into the breathalyzer device and their blood alcohol concentration is over the limit, the vehicle is disabled.

Nissan, General Motors, and BMW have already begun equipping their vehicles with infrared cameras to monitor driver behavior. However, these cameras only track the driver's attentiveness. BMW's system only uses semi-automated driver-assist systems and makes certain that the driver isn't driving distracted, impaired, or has lost consciousness. Should the system detect any of these situations, a warning alarm sounds, warning the driver, and the system only escalates when the behaviors it detects continue. The vehicle automatically turns on the vehicle's hazard lights, reduces the car's speed, and the vehicle pulls over or stops. 

The new infrastructure bill also requires all auto manufacturers to install rear-seat reminders to remind parents of any children in the backseat. This way, a parent does not accidentally forget about a child and leave them in the car. This mandate will take effect in 2025. Other motor vehicle safety requirements include lane departure warning systems and automatic emergency braking as standard equipment.

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All information provided by our blogs is general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Consult a Montlick attorney for details about your unique situation.