Down the road by just a few years, many drunk drivers won’t be able to start up their vehicles.  -  Photo: Canva

Down the road by just a few years, many drunk drivers won’t be able to start up their vehicles.

Photo: Canva

Some 91% of Americans support equipping all new cars with alcohol-impaired driving prevention technology, according to a new poll from Ipsos.

That may come as no surprise since road safety experts have tried repeatedly to spread the message that drunk driving kills. In fact, 11,654 people lost their lives in alcohol-impaired collisions in 2020 alone — a 14% increase from 2019, notes the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The new poll results come one year after the HALT Act was signed into law. That law gave NHTSA a three-year window to establish an auto safety standard for all new cars that detects and prevents impaired driving. NHTSA’s three-year timeline began on Nov. 15, 2021. After its completion automakers will have two to three years to implement the new safety technology.

According to the Ipsos survey, cost appears to be the most common factor that influenced respondents to support the new technology. A majority of those surveyed — 78% — said they are much more or somewhat more likely to support the technology if it comes at no extra cost to consumers.

In addition, according to the Ipsos poll, 58% of respondents said they were more likely to support passive drunk driving prevention technology in all new cars if the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) endorsed it. This past September, the NTSB came out with a strong statement supporting the passive tech.

Safety advocates including Mothers Against Drink Driving (MADD) agree that the technology should not be a luxury that only some drivers can afford. Rather, the goal is to implement advanced, passive technology into every new car as a standard safety feature, much like seatbelts and airbags. The technology can detect if a driver is drunk and stops the vehicle from starting.

Drunk driving remains a crisis on the nation’s roadways. Every day, approximately 32 people in the U.S. die in drunk driving crashes — that’s one person every 45 minutes. The new technology aims to reverse that trend.

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