WASHINGTON — Congress has asked the automakers to develop new technology to find a high-tech way to keep drunk drivers from driving cars.
This decision was taken amid safety and increasing road accidents and the $1 trillion infrastructure package that President Joe Biden is expected to sign soon.
Under the regulation, monitoring systems to stop intoxicated drivers would be installed in all new vehicles as early as 2026 after the Transportation Department evaluates the best technology to install in millions of vehicles and automakers are given time to cope with the new mechanism.
“It’s monumental,” said Alex Otte, national president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Otte called the package the “single most important legislation” in the group’s history that marks “the beginning of the end of drunk driving.”
“It will virtually eliminate the No. 1 killer on America’s roads,” she said.
According to NHTSA, every year more than 10,000 people are killed due to drunk driving and crashes in the U.S., making up nearly 30% of fatality rates.
Congress also mandated the agency to modernize the centuries-old safety criteria to prevent deaths from subsiding front seatbacks and develop a rule necessitating automatic emergency braking and lane-departure cautions in all passenger vehicles.
“The best way to allow people to move in ways that are better for congestion and better for climate is to give them alternatives,” Buttigieg said. Describing much of it as a longer-term effort, he said, “this is how we do right by the next generation.”