Drunk Driving Could Be a Thing of the Past if Feds Have it Their Way

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The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has taken a massive step towards eliminating drunk driving by filing an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, signaling the intention to make it mandatory for automakers to install impaired driving detection devices in vehicles. This move aims to introduce a new Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard and potentially put an end to the menace of drunk driving.

The proposed legislation, if approved by November 2024, would compel automakers to incorporate technology that immobilizes vehicles when drivers are detected to have alcohol in their system. This bold initiative is a response to the alarming rates of fatalities caused by drunk driving crashes, positioning it as a crucial step in enhancing road safety.

Automakers are already gearing up for the impending change. General Motors CEO Mary Barra acknowledged the inevitability of this technological shift, asserting that GM is actively working on implementing such systems. Barra’s statement, made during an interview at the Economic Club of Washington, indicates that forthcoming vehicles, including the Cadillac Vistiq, may be among the first to integrate this groundbreaking technology.

The NHTSA’s advocacy for alcohol-impaired-driving prevention technology dates back to 2021, with the filing of the first recommendation for original equipment manufacturer (OEM)-installed prevention technology. Previous attempts in 2015 had initiated discussions, and the government granted the NHTSA three years to collaborate with automakers and devise a viable solution. The agency’s collaboration with industry stakeholders emphasizes the shared commitment to address the tragic toll of drunk driving on American roadways.

Polly Trottenberg, the Deputy Secretary of the US Department of Transportation, expressed the urgency of the situation, highlighting the severity of drunk driving crashes as a leading cause of roadway fatalities. The Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, as announced by Trottenberg, marks the initial phase towards establishing a new safety standard mandating alcohol-impaired-driving prevention technology in new passenger vehicles.


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