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The Next Level of Safety – Mandated Anti-Impaired Driving Technology

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Road traffic safety has been a trouble for everyone for more than a century. According to MADD, impaired driving is the No.1 killer on America’s roads (MADD Media, 2021). And in the report of the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, it is stated that there are 29 people die in motor vehicle crashes in the United States every day and the annual cost of alcohol-related crashes totals more than $44 billion (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020). In 2016, 10,497 people died in alcohol-related driving crashes, which accounts for 28% of all traffic-related deaths in the United States (Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, 2020).

However, with the new Infrastructure Bill passed by the house of senators in August and by the house of representatives in November this year, we might see an end to this long-lasting problem (MADD Media, 2021). In the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act passed, it stated that all the new cars should be equipped with the advanced drunk and impaired diving prevention technology, which means a system that can passively monitor the driver’s performance or can passively detect the blood alcohol concentration of a driver and such system should prevent or limit motor vehicle operation if an impairment is detected (Congress of the United States of America, n.d.). This act is expected to prevent more than 9,400 drunk driving death annually according to a 2020 study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (MADD Media, 2021). The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is appointed to do the rulemaking process and set the final standards with three years (MADD Media, 2021). The automakers will be given two to three years to implement the safety standard (MADD Media, 2021). We are expected to see the new cars equipped with the NHTSA-directed technology on the road in around 2026-2027 (MADD Media, 2021).

As for the system that should be used to monitor the drivers, the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) program suggested to use a breath or touch-based approach to determine Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) level (Bellan, 2021). Meanwhile, it is also suggested by Dr. Mike lenné, chief science and innovation officer at Seeing Machines, that a camera-based technology might be more successful since the BAC level can rise within minutes (Bellan, 2021). According to IndustryARC, the global Driver Monitoring Systems (DMS) is expected to surpass $2.1 billion by 2026 and growing at a compound annual growth rate of 9.8% from 2021 (Bellan, 2021). We can see there are huge potential markets for companies developing eye-tracking technology. And we can see the potential application of this technology in autonomous vehicle industry. That is if the system detects impaired diving, the car can let the driver choose either shut down the cars or let the car operate itself and turn into self-driving mode.

If the act can be implemented, we can see a huge potential market will rise along with the end of the deadly problem that has kept troubling us for more than a century. “We are so grateful for the bold and aggressive leadership in support of this historic, lifesaving legislation by the bill sponsors in the House and Senate,” MADD National President Alex Otte said. “We will never forget their compassion toward victims and their commitment to ending drunk driving forever.” (MADD Media, 2021).

References

Bellan, R. (August 5, 2021). Drunk-Driving Provision Could Fuel Demand for Driver Monitoring Technology. Retrieved from https://techcrunch.com/2021/08/05/drunk-driving-provision-could-fuel-demand-for-driver-detection-technology/

Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. (August 24, 2020). Impaired Driving: Get the Facts. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/transportationsafety/impaired_driving/impaired-drv_factsheet.html

Congress of the United States of America. (n.d.). H.R.3684 – Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. Retrieved from https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/house-bill/3684  

MADD Media. (November 6, 2021). MADD Hails Monumental Drunk Driving Provision in Infrastructure Bill Passed by U.S. House of Representatives. Retrieved from https://www.madd.org/press-release/madd-hails-monumental-drunk-driving-prevention-provision-in-infrastructure-bill-passed-by-u-s-house-of-representatives