New proposed federal legislation would require all new vehicles to be equipped with advanced detection technology that would passively detect whether the driver is alcohol-impaired before he or she starts the engine.
The Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone Act of 2019, which is co-sponsored by Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Rick Scott (R-Fla.), would provide additional funding for continued research and road-testing of passive detection systems and set a timeline of about four years to put the technology on the market, according to the Washington Post.
Experts believe the technology initiative could save approximately 7,000 lives every year. Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the National Safety Council support the measure.
In 2006, MADD held a technology symposium in New Mexico to discuss the concept of automakers building advanced alcohol detection systems that would passively detect whether the driver is drunk.
After that initial symposium, the government and the auto industry entered into a cooperative partnership to determine if such technology was feasible. Today, it is evident that automakers can indeed build vehicles that cannot be driven by a drunk driver, according to MADD.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has spent $50 million in the effort to develop technology that would reliably and quickly determine whether a driver is impaired, reports the Post. These efforts include a government-funded research program involving more than a dozen automakers to develop the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety.
Approximately 11,000 people die every year — almost 30 lost lives a day — as the result of a drunk driving collision, according to MADD.