The new technology is designed to prevent drunk driving

Developers praise new technology to create “a world without drunk driving”


The National Transportation Safety Board recommends that all new vehicles in the US be equipped with blood alcohol monitoring systems that can stop a drunk person from driving.

The recommendation, if passed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, could reduce alcohol-related accidents, one of the biggest causes of d*ath on highways in the U.S.

A new drive to increase road safety was included in a terrible crash report published on Tuesday last year, in which a drunk driver collided head-on with another vehicle near Fresno, California, killing both adult drivers and seven children.

“Technology could have prevented this heart-rending catastrophe – just as it could have prevented the tens of thousands of d*aths from the driving and speeding accidents we see each year in the United States,” NTSB President Jennifer Homendy said in a statement. “We need to implement the technologies we have right here, right now, to save lives.”

NHTSA He said This week the US road d*aths are at crisis level. Almost 43,000 people died last year, the most in 16 years, as Americans returned to the roads from the stay-at-home pandemic. It is estimated that 20,175 people died in road accidents in the first half of 2022. Since 2000, more than 230,000 people have died in accidents involving drivers with alcoholic disabilities, NHTSA said.

Early estimates show that the d*ath toll rose again in the first half of this year but fell from April to June, which authorities hope is a trend.

The NTSB, which does not have a regulatory body and can only ask other agencies to act, said the recommendation was intended to put pressure on NHTSA to change. It can be effective in just three years.

“We see the numbers. We have to make sure that we are doing everything we can to save lives, ”said Homendy.

She said the NTSB is pushing NHTSA to investigate alcohol monitoring technology since 2012. “The sooner the technology is deployed, the more lives will be saved,” she said.

The recommendation also calls for driver behavior monitoring systems to ensure that they are alert. Many cars now have driver-facing cameras, she said, which could reduce handicapped driving.

Can technology save a life?

Homendy admitted that it will take time to perfect alcohol tests. “We also know NHTSA will take some time to evaluate what technologies are available and how to develop a standard.”

A message was left on Tuesday asking for comment from NHTSA. The agency and a group of 16 car manufacturers have jointly funded alcohol monitoring research since 2008, creating a group called Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety.

Jake McCook, a spokesman for the group, said the group had hired a Swedish company to investigate a technology that would automatically test a driver’s breath for alcohol and prevent the vehicle from moving if the driver was impaired. The driver would not have to blow into the tube and the sensor would check the driver’s breathing, McCook said.

Another company is working on a light technology that could test the blood alcohol content of a finger, he said. Breathing technology may be ready by the end of 2024 and touch technology will be available around a year later.

McCook said it could be another one or two model years before automakers get the technology to apply it to new vehicles.

Once the technology is ready, it will take years for most of the approximately 280 million vehicles on American roads to be found.

Under last year’s law on inter-party infrastructure, Congress required NHTSA to install alcohol monitoring systems within three years. The agency may apply for an extension. In the past, implementation of such requirements was slow.

The legislation does not specify the technology, only that it has to “passively monitor” the driver to determine if it is damaged.

11,654 alcohol-related d*aths

According to the latest available data, 11,654 people died in alcohol-related accidents in 2020, according to NHTSA data. That’s about 30% of all US road traffic d*aths and a 14% increase over 2019 figures, the last full year before the coronavirus pandemic, the NTSB said.

In the fatal accident reported in the report, a 28-year-old SUV driver was driving home from a New Years party in 2021 where he was drinking. The SUV deviated from the right side of State Highway 33, crossed the centerline, and crashed head-on into a Ford F-150 pickup near Avenal, California.

The pickup was driving home 34-year-old Gabriela Pulido and seven children between the ages of 6 and 15 after a trip to Pismo Beach. The truck caught fire quickly and bystanders were unable to save the passengers, the NTSB said.

The SUV driver’s blood alcohol level was 0.21%, almost three times the California limit. He also had mar*juana in his system, but the agency said the alcohol was more than enough to seriously harm his running. According to the report, the SUV ran from 88 to 98 mph (142 to 158 km / h).

Juan Pulido, 37, whose wife and four children died in the accident, said he was glad the NTSB was pushing for alcohol monitoring because it could stop another person from losing loved ones. “It’s something their families have to live with,” he said. “It doesn’t disappear tomorrow.”

Pulido’s lawyer Paul Kiesel said driver monitoring systems can also prevent accidents caused by medical problems or drowsiness, saving you anguish and billions in hospital treatment costs.

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