Congress will require automakers to implement anti-drunk driving tech in vehicles

Polycount

Posts: 3,017   +590
Staff member
In context: Driver assistance technologies have been around for many years, but they've become far more sophisticated over the past decade or so. Some modern vehicles, such as Teslas, are capable of near-total automation (well, sort of). Many others boast helpful auto-braking, lane-keeping, and exit-taking features, all of which can significantly reduce driving risk when implemented and used correctly.

However, US lawmakers don't feel that sort of functionality is doing enough for the safety of drivers.

As part of President Biden's new infrastructure bill, officials tossed in a provision requiring automakers to include anti-drunk driver tech in their cars. This technology would need to be implemented "as early as 2026," Autoblog reports. Provided the NHTSA can come to a consensus on what the tech should look like, that is.

The bill is light on details, which is to be expected -- that's for the NHTSA and the auto industry as a whole to figure out. However, it does require the technology to be capable of passively monitoring any given driver and identifying whether or not they're too impaired to be behind the wheel. Regardless of what form the final tech takes, there could be privacy implications for drivers.

What if vehicles use facial recognition to determine whether or not you're drunk? What if they monitor your driving habits to establish a baseline, and then constantly scan for deviations?

Both methods -- and plenty of others -- could work, but they'd undoubtedly ruffle a few feathers. On the other hand, putting an end to drunk driving is certainly a worthwhile pursuit, and some may argue that the ends justify the means.

In 2019, roughly 10,142 deaths were caused by drunk driving-related incidents, averaging out to around 28 fatalities per day, according to the NHTSA.

However you feel about the idea, both its detractors and proponents will have plenty of time to make their opinions on the matter known. Biden's Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act has passed Congress, but it will still likely be years before the NHTSA comes up with a solution for anti-drunk driving features in cars, much less begins enforcing it on automakers.

Masthead credit: why kei

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QuantumPhysics

Posts: 6,308   +7,248
Driving drunk is the absolute most irresponsible thing you could do. I personally would never risk a $90,000+ automobile in this level of bumper to bumper Manhattan traffic. I make sure that when I go out I always stay sober by drinking soda instead of alcohol.
 

Rayneofpayne

Posts: 502   +415
Or states could idk just forbid that person from obtaining a license after convicted, and people will have no choice but to stop when considering even the though of driving home from a bar or intoxicated.
I mean look at the actual facts how many of these crimes in the US are done by people that exceed the income of 100k a year and just habitually get a slap on the wrist.
 

Duke9192

Posts: 59   +80
Driving drunk is the absolute most irresponsible thing you could do. I personally would never risk a $90,000+ automobile in this level of bumper to bumper Manhattan traffic. I make sure that when I go out I always stay sober by drinking soda instead of alcohol.
And you pay a soda tax when you make that soda purchase. Now we will pay for additional "safety" components in our vehicles. So many regulations to complicate our lives....I wonder if eventually the drunk driver can blame the vehicle for an accident if it failed to detect their drunkenness.
 

ShadowDeath

Posts: 204   +202
Or states could idk just forbid that person from obtaining a license after convicted, and people will have no choice but to stop when considering even the though of driving home from a bar or intoxicated.
I mean look at the actual facts how many of these crimes in the US are done by people that exceed the income of 100k a year and just habitually get a slap on the wrist.

Too bad people breaking the law don't care about the law. My neighbor had his license taken away after getting enough DUI's. Dude just drove without a license instead. Didn't matter how many times he got reported or got pulled over once they let him out he did it again. The only thing that stopped him was he got old and his friends came and got him since his family don't have anything to do with him.
 

Austinturner

Posts: 351   +452
The problem I see is that drugs, tiredness etc also cause crashes that this won’t help, however mandating more anti-collision, lane following, automatic braking tech instead should save drunk drivers and tired drivers and high drivers and all the people they could run into.
 

Bl00dyMinded

Posts: 505   +780
Driving drunk is the absolute most irresponsible thing you could do. I personally would never risk a $90,000+ automobile in this level of bumper to bumper Manhattan traffic. I make sure that when I go out I always stay sober by drinking soda instead of alcohol.
Bro, you really make an effort to flash the amount of money you spend on everything you buy huh. You know people tend not to believe people like that lol.
 

p51d007

Posts: 3,375   +3,047
I'm surprised it has taken the nanny state to do this in the first place.
Or they could just cut to the chase. Banning gas powered vehicles, "automated"
driving...just go ahead and ban recreational driving. Only "allow" people to drive
to and from work because the government wants the taxes.
I'm glad I'm old enough that I probably won't be around, once all this crap comes along.
This country use to be build on freedom, with responsibilities. If you broke the law, you
were punished. Now, mommy & daddy government has to make it so their "children"
don't hurt anyone.
 

Cycloid Torus

Posts: 4,859   +1,679
I had a good friend die in a one-car accident...she had a stroke while driving. Another broke his jaw in 3 places when he ran off the road.... after working a second shift... asleep. I think there is a great deal of value to an "impaired driver" intervention system.

Maybe George Hotz can engineer something which works.... for 1/5th of the price.
 

mrvco

Posts: 189   +207
And you pay a soda tax when you make that soda purchase. Now we will pay for additional "safety" components in our vehicles. So many regulations to complicate our lives....I wonder if eventually the drunk driver can blame the vehicle for an accident if it failed to detect their drunkenness.

Why of course. The mfgs will also be liable if a car strands someone in some dangerous situation because the car has decided that they're drunk when they're not.
 

Eldritch

Posts: 499   +909
Why of course. The mfgs will also be liable if a car strands someone in some dangerous situation because the car has decided that they're drunk when they're not.

This is the very definition of 'smart' products. They will leave you stranded at worst possible times.

Heavy storm and rain caused water patches on road that you need to avoid?
Guess you are drunk.
Engine off!

Emergency situation where you need to rush someone to hospital and you are understandably jittery?
Engine off!

You are driving in night on an new route and trying to avoid any obstacles?
Engine off!

Someone is following you and you are trying to lose them?
Engine off!
 

Neatfeatguy

Posts: 1,024   +1,885
Congress: You need to build in anti-drunk driving stuff into your cars so we can charge people more money for cars and have them pay us more in taxes.

Car Company CEO: You mean to help keep people safe by not allowing them to drive drunk?

Congress: Yeah, sure. That, too.

CEO: You do know we're having chip shortages and unable to even provide all the normal commodities that these cars normally have, right? I don't know how plausible this will be right now.

Congress: Yes, yes....pay us more money. That's fine.

CEO: ....what?

Congress: Just be on your way. Empty your wallet on the way out and don't collect $200 if you pass Go.

CEO: I don't understand....what are you even talking about now?

Congress: Huh? Oh, you're still here? Why? Go away.
 

Soulburn74

Posts: 125   +67
Its a legal quagmire that will probably require rethinking 'ownership' of cars, and probably separate roads to keep auto-piloted passengers off the same roads as manually driven cars. BUT I would say if that future exists when its ok to take your hands off the wheel, and no longer be liable for any accident that occurs when you are giving up control...... I'd say if the technology exists to lock the passenger out of being able to control the car, its the best option, your own car drives your drunk *** home, no harm no foul........
 

Irata

Posts: 2,221   +3,857
The thing I‘m wondering about is: why is this in an infrastructure bill ?

If govt feels this is important, it should have its own bill that can be properly discussed.
 

bravesgood

Posts: 31   +37
Driving drunk is the absolute most irresponsible thing you could do. I personally would never risk a $90,000+ automobile in this level of bumper to bumper Manhattan traffic. I make sure that when I go out I always stay sober by drinking soda instead of alcohol.

I disagree. Leaving your refrigerator running all night is significantly more irresponsible.
 

Ravey

Posts: 370   +168
I feel the simplest solution would be to add an immobiliser connected to a breathalyser. You then have to blow below the alcohol limit to immobilise your car. I might consider something like this if it was optional and came with a reduction to the cost of my car insurance.

Having a car track a drivers behaviour for drunkenness could be difficult. A driver under severe stress or panic can often drive like they are drunk. You also have those types of drivers who should never have been granted a licence in the first place and have driving skills so bad they may as well be drunk. (There are days I feel like I fall into this category!)