What just happened? The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to consider requiring all new vehicles to be equipped with on-board alcohol detection technology that would limit or prohibit drivers impaired from driving their vehicle.
The recommendation comes after an investigation into a 2021 New Year’s Eve crash in Avenal, California that killed nine people including seven children. According to the NTSB report, an SUV traveling between 88 and 98 mph crossed the center line into on-going traffic and collided with a pickup truck occupied by a driver and seven passengers.
The SUV driver had a high level of alcohol intoxication and was speeding.
– Advertising –
Jennifer Homendy, president of the NTSB said the technology could have prevented the accident, “just as it can prevent the tens of thousands of deaths from impaired driving and speeding crashes that we see in the United States. every year”.
Drunk driving is one of the leading causes of injury crashes on highways. Since 2000, more than 230,000 people have died in crashes involving impaired drivers. In 2020 alone, an estimated 11,654 deaths – around 30% of all road fatalities that year – involved drunk drivers.
The NTSB is further interested in lowering the blood alcohol concentration limit to 0.05 g/dL or less.
The agency is also concerned about speeding. In 2020, some 11,258 road deaths involved at least one speeding driver. NHTSA said speeding increases both the chance of being involved in a crash and the severity of the injuries sustained.
Both issues are on the NTSB’s Most Wanted Transportation Security Improvements list. As such, the NTSB also called for a strategy to eliminate speed-related crashes by combining traditional measures such as regulation and enforcement with technology-based speed limiters and smart coping technology. speed.
Should new vehicles be equipped with additional alcohol detection systems and speed limiters? Would it be fair to ask non-drinkers and non-speeders to pay extra for systems that will only hinder them? Even if such measures are mandatory, it will likely be many years before they are implemented and by that time autonomous driving technology could be advanced enough to overrule them completely.
Image credit: energetic, Ludovic Charlet