Congress Approves Adding Alcohol Monitors In All New Cars To Help Stop Drunk Driving - The Shade Room

Congress Approves Adding Alcohol Monitors In All New Cars To Help Stop Drunk Driving

In an effort to stop drunk driving, Congress is requiring automakers to install monitoring systems into new cars to prevent drivers from operating their vehicles while intoxicated.

The measure is part of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill that is on its way to President Joe Biden’s desk for a signature. Congress is allocating around $17 billion for road safety programs, according to the Daily Mail.

The rollout for the monitoring systems may happen as early as 2026, according to the bill, but before companies start installing them, the Transportation Department would have to assess what the best form of technology is and give automakers ample time to comply with the new law.

Some people who have been convicted of drunk driving already have to use a breathalyzer attached to their vehicles’ ignition interlock by blowing into a tube. The system will disable the vehicle if the individual’s blood alcohol level is above the legal amount.

However, the infrastructure bill does not specify what type of technology would be required, though implies it would not be a breathalyzer because the system must “passively monitor the performance of a driver of a motor vehicle to accurately identify whether that driver may be impaired.”

So what other types of technology are being considered? The Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) program, which is partially funded by the government, is one of the groups currently working on two separate alcohol detection systems that wouldn’t require any action from the driver.

The first is a sensor that would test the air within the car to detect a driver’s blood alcohol levels, but in order for it to work, it would need to distinguish the driver’s breath from any inebriated passengers.

The second is an infrared touch sensor that could be built into a steering wheel or start button to detect blood alcohol level through the skin.

 

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