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A Small Step Toward the End of Drunk Driving
"[T]he National Highway Traffic Safety Administration quietly issued a request for information on late- or end-stage automotive technology that detects when drivers are impaired and prevents them from starting their cars," reports Kea Wilson.
The request is a very early preliminary first step toward the potential requirements for automakers to include potentially life-saving devices in vehicles, and, according to Wilson, "it’s a promising sign that the NHTSA is at least exploring the easily available solutions to our national drunk driving epidemic…"
There are many solutions to drunk driving made possible by technology that go far beyond a breathalyzer-actuated ignition. Alcohol detection technologies include on-board sensors to detect alcohol on the driver's breath or on the driver's skin. A concept car made by Nissan includes technology that detects erratic driving behavior consistent with drunk driving.
"But," writes Wilson, "like seatbelts and airbags before them, federal agencies like NHTSA have been reluctant to require the life-saving devices on new vehicles due to pressure from the auto industry, which does not want to pay the costs of implementing the reform."