New Law Includes A Mandate For Technology To Reduce Drunk Driving

Wednesday, December 15th, 2021 by | Posted In: Uncategorized

Last month the United States Congress completed work on and passed a bi-partisan infrastructure bill that will invest over a trillion dollars into U.S. infrastructure.  The bill was signed by President Biden.  Along with the investments this bill will make in roads, bridges, trains, and planes, there is also a provision in the law that is aimed at helping reduce or eliminate drunk driving.

Drunk driving is a leading cause of auto accidents in the United States with over 10,000 drivers a year being killed by the behavior.  The new law requires that auto manufacturers include advanced technology in all new vehicles that will help passively detect whether or not a driver is under the influence of alcohol.  The mandate requires that these new technologies be in all vehicles by 2026.

Currently there are certainly ways that law enforcement can punish those who have been caught driving while under the influence including fines, impounding of a vehicle, and jail time.  Drivers who are a persistent threat of driving drunk may be required to put a breathalyzer in their vehicle that must be used before the vehicle can be started.  If the driver is intoxicated the vehicle will not start.  The new law aims to have technology that is not cumbersome for the average driver to use, but will in effect perform the same function to insure that the driver is not drunk.    

While 2026 is just four years away, there is much work to be done as the U.S. Department of Transportation is tasked with determining what the best technology to use for this important task is and then auto manufacturers must implement it by the 2026 model year.  There are auto manufacturers that currently have some monitoring technologies in their vehicles already including GM, Nissan, and others, but there is no word on whether these current technologies will be sufficient to meet the requirements in the new law.  

Legislators also included in the infrastructure bill a number of provisions for auto manufacturers to include in new vehicles safety features like rear seat reminders, automatic emergency braking, and lane departure warnings.  The aim of all of these new requirements is to reduce the number of auto accidents that occur on U.S. streets each year.  If you or a loved one have been involved in a Connecticut auto accident you may need to speak with an experienced attorney.  One of our attorneys can review your case and insure that your long-term interests are protected.

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