The U.S. House of Representatives passed unprecedented drunk driving prevention technology provisions on July 1 as part of the INVEST in America Act.
Specifically, The HALT Act provisions in the INVEST in America Act call for a technology-neutral rulemaking by the National Highway Traffic Safety administration (NHTSA) that could involve a variety of drunk driving prevention systems in all new cars.
These include driver monitoring, which can detect signs of distracted, impaired or fatigued driving, and alcohol detection, which uses sensors to determine that a driver is under the influence of alcohol and then prevent the vehicle from moving.
Experts say that requiring the technology as standard safety equipment on all new cars will save 9,400 lives a year. In fact, every day about 28 people in the U.S. die in drunk driving crashes — that’s one person every 52 minutes.
The HALT Act is similar to a bipartisan bill introduced in the Senate by Sen. Ben Ray Luján (D-NM) and Sen. Rick Scott (R-FL) on April 22. The Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone (RIDE) Act provisions became part of the Surface Transportation Act that passed the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee on June 16 with the critical additional support of Sens. Gary Peters and Shelley Moore Capito. The bill awaits a vote by the full Senate.
Drunk driving is the leading killer on America’s roads, and the number of drunk driving deaths increased 9% in 2020 despite fewer vehicles on the road, according to preliminary estimates from NHTSA.