WASHINGTON – An independent team of car safety experts and consumer advocates will help develop technology that could prevent drunk drivers or drivers with disabilities from driving their vehicles.
Provisions in $ 1 trillion in infrastructure legislation require NHTSA to issue a final rule by November 2024 that requires new vehicles to be equipped advanced technology for the prevention of drunk and defective driving.
Once typically issued, automakers will have two to three years to introduce the technology as standard equipment in all new cars and trucks.
The Technical Working Group, co-chaired by Stephanie Manning, Head of Government Against Drunk Driving, and Jeffrey Michael, former Assistant Administrator of NHTSA, will be tasked with supporting efforts to ensure that the requirement is met as soon as possible.
“We understand that this is a very important regulatory commitment, but it is also necessary because it has the potential to save so many lives and, in fact, eliminate traffic violations, the leading cause of deaths in road traffic,” Manning said in a statement. on Tuesday.
“We plan to provide the best information on currently available technologies and developments by other regulators and the supplier community around the world to make the implementation of this rescue technology a success,” she added.
Along with Manning and Michael in the group are 11 other participants, including Nat Beves, Aurora’s vice president of security; Kelly Funkhauser, program manager for automotive technology Consumer reports; Don Tracy, retired CEO of Denso North America; and David Zubi, chief researcher at the Institute of Road Safety Insurance.
It is unclear whether automakers will be invited to join the group.
“We are certainly looking forward to learning more about what the automotive industry is doing to help save lives and prevent injuries, refine this standard and put an end to driving with violations once and for all,” a group spokesman said. Automotive news.
About a third of deaths while driving under the influence of alcohol killed on the highway in the US every year. According to IIHS, alcohol detection systems that prevent driving can save more than 9,400 lives each year.
Alliance for Automotive Innovation, a trade association representing most of the major automakers, said last year that the industry has long sought to support public and private efforts to combat drunk drivers.
For its part, the industry is collaborating with NHTSA to develop driver alcohol detection technology for safety, which has a breathing and touch system to measure the driver’s blood alcohol level.
“We appreciate the efforts of Congress leaders and other stakeholders to advance a legislative approach that allows NHTSA to view all potential technologies as options for federal regulation,” said John Basella, alliance director general, in August before the Infrastructure Bill became law. .
Representative Debbie Dingel, who led the proposal along with Senator Ben Ray Lujan, DN.M., said it was time to introduce technology and save lives.
“When Congress passed my legislation requiring carmakers to install intoxicating technology as standard equipment in new vehicles, we sent a clear message that we need to end this injury now,” Dingel said. D-Mich.
When NHTSA begins the rulemaking process, she added, the newly formed group will “ensure the rapid and efficient introduction of this technology.”