We Have the Technology to Stop Drunk Driving
It used to be that vehicles did not have seatbelts, anti-lock brakes, or air bags. When these technologies were new, some people questioned whether they were needed and whether they would really make us safer. Now we know these technologies save countless lives every year. Today, there is even newer and better technology, including technology to prevent drunk driving.
Two technologies in particular would help stop drunk driving: alcohol detection systems that use sensors to determine when a driver may be under the influence of alcohol; and driver monitoring systems that can detect signs of impaired or fatigued driving. Together, these systems can save more than 9,400 lives a year, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
Car manufacturers including Nissan, Toyota, Volvo and others have been working on built-in high-sensitivity alcohol sensors to detect the presence of alcohol; when alcohol is detected, a voice alert and message alert is triggered through the car’s navigation system. They also are working on facial monitoring systems designed to monitor a driver’s state of consciousness through blinking of the eyes; when the system detects drowsiness, a voice alert and message alert is triggered through the navigation system.
These technologies have been in R&D for at least 10-15 years, but to move them from the drawing board into showroom vehicles could be helped through federally mandated safety standards. Federal legislation such as the House’s HALT Act (Honoring Abbas Family Legacy to Terminate Drunk Driving Act) and the Senate’s RIDE Act (Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone) have broad bipartisan support and this kind of legislation is needed now more than ever. Drunk driving actually spiked during the pandemic, despite that we were driving fewer miles and not going out to bars and restaurants.
The auto industry is in the midst of a technological revolution of electric and self-driving vehicles. It has the resources and expertise to make safety advances like drunk driving prevention a reality. In the same way we have come to rely on seatbelts, anti-lock braking, and air bags to keep us safe on the road, one day we may be able to rely on these systems to eliminate the danger of drunk driving.
People don’t always make the right decision and the numbers don’t lie: for five years in a row, drunk driving crashes have hovered above 10,000 per year. Tragedy after tragedy caused by drunk driving proves that some drivers don’t care if they put others at risk. Bruno & Associates stands with Mothers Against Drunk Driving and other like-minded organizations to push for federal legislation that would require all new vehicles to be equipped the advanced passive technology that will control or prevent an impaired driver from operating a vehicle. We believe this kind of lifesaving technology should be made standard in all new vehicles through federal legislation.
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