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Automakers must soon install tech in new cars that can detect and stop drunk drivers, Congress says

·2 min read
An ongoing line of cars tries to evacuate New Orleans on the highway.
Congress mandated that automakers must install technology in new vehicles that detects drunk drivers, AP first reported. AP Photo/Steve Helber
  • Automakers will soon have to install tech in new cars that can detect and stop drunk drivers.

  • The tech should "prevent or limit motor vehicle operation" if it detects "impairment," legislation says.

  • The drunk-driving tech requirement is included in Biden's $1 trillion infrastructure bill.

Carmakers must install technology in new vehicles to detect and stop drunk drivers as part of a requirement included in President Joe Biden's $1 trillion infrastructure bill, AP first reported on Tuesday.

The legislation says the new technology must "passively monitor the performance of a driver of a motor vehicle to accurately identify whether that driver may be impaired" and "prevent or limit motor vehicle operation if an impairment is detected."

The Transportation Department is expected to decide on the most suitable technology to install in vehicles, and carmakers will then be given time to comply, AP reported.

The technology could roll out in all new cars as soon as 2026, according to AP's report.

House lawmakers on Friday approved the $1 trillion infrastructure bill, which Biden is expected to sign soon.

Technology that can detect a drunk driver could prevent more than 9,400 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities per year, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which was cited in the 2,702-page bill.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimated in October that 20,160 people died in car crashes in the first half of 2021 - the highest number of fatalities in the first half of a year since 2006, it said.

The agency says on its website that one third of all traffic collisions in the US involve drunk drivers, adding that more than 10,000 people died every year over a 10-year period between 2010 and 2019 because of drunk-driving crashes.

The tech "will virtually eliminate the No. 1 killer on America's roads," Alex Otte, national president of advocacy group Mothers Against Drunk Driving, told AP.

Read the original article on Business Insider