USA: NHTSA proposes anti-drunk driving tech in cars

The anti-drunk driving tech could help save as many as 10,000 lives in the USA alone.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has proposed automakers adopt a new technology which will prevent intoxicated drivers from starting their vehicles. According to reports, the agency is said to have been conducting research on potential directions regarding this new tech and how a mandate will manifest for the past 2 years. The summary of this research has now been released for public comment.

The research comes after Congress, in 2021, directed the agency to come up with the best ways to move forward with its anti-drunk driving mandate. Reports state that a new safety tech standard needs to be reached by November 2024.

The new tech will require near-instant blood alcohol testing to be done on drivers. NHTSA is said to be researching a touch-based sensor, as well as a passive breath analysis sensor, calling them “DADSS” or Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety.

The agency states that once the anti-drunk driving tech is installed, it could help save as many as 10,000 lives in the USA alone. NHTSA released the 2021 figures, which showed that 13,000 people were killed in drunk driving crashes that year. They also mentioned that almost 1/3rd of the traffic crash deaths in 2021 involved drunk drivers.

Having said that, Ann Carlson, Acting Leader of NHTSA, was cautious, stating that even a system with 99.9% accuracy could result in falling prey to false positives. She added that if sober people are prevented from driving their cars because of the tech, it could end up receiving an aggressive backlash from the public.

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