Smart Car role in curbing drunk driving

Drunk Driving,

The human experience is replete with wonder, failure, exceptional highs and exceptional lows. One of the worst things that can happen to someone is losing someone close. This could be a family member, a partner, a dear friend, or worse, a child. These are uncontrollable, and many deaths result from things that are beyond us (cancer and similar diseases that do not discriminate). But there are other things that we can control, and one of them is drunk driving.


Crack Down On Drunk Driving

Thankfully, the “public good” argument against cracking down on drunk driving has worked. Initially framed as something we should keep in mind and pass the keys if we’ve had a couple drinks has transformed to others in society actively asking people to pass their keys, and in the most extreme cases, taking keys or calling authorities before said person can get behind the wheel. Many refer to this as a “public good” because driving drunk affects us all. The person(s) that could be injured or worse are strangers to the person driving, but are relatives, friends, children or loved ones of someone else. As a society we are better off with less drunk driving, period.

As cars become smarter by the day, many in Congress would like to capitalize on this intelligence and load them with systems that can detect whether someone is drunk before they start the car. An act known as the RIDE Act (Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone Act) would direct $10 million to fund research into touch-based sensors that can measure a driver’s blood alcohol level. The bill comes on the heels of a similar initiative spearheaded by Representative Debbie Dingell from Michigan. Both Dingell and the architects behind RIDE, Senators Tom Udall and Rick Scott, come from states that have been ravaged by the deadly effects of drunk driving. All three can rattle off horrific stories and the devastation drunk driving inflicts on families.


Drunk Driving Fatalities

Throughout the 1990s New Mexico went through a similar situation and as a result became the first state requiring convicted drunk drivers to employ a breathalyzer prior to driving. Yet, in an emerging world where driverless cars will be commonplace, innovation and buy-in from the auto industry is key. Some point to what occurred with airbags and seatbelts. Auto manufacturers were not lining up to install these when they were first introduced. Pressure was needed, and that pressure is what the RIDE Act is seeking to impose.

Drunk driving fatalities have dropped since the 1980s, but there is still much to do. Roughly 10,800 people were killed in drunk driving accidents in 2017, and a further dent in that number is desperately needed.

Chicago News – View Link Protection Status
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