Despite decades of efforts, drunk driving (or OWI in Wisconsin) remains a problem on U.S. roadways. Data from recent months reveal that avoidable accidents, including those involving alcohol or drugs, continue at a disappointing pace.
Many new efforts rely on technological advances to prevent individuals from driving while under the influence.
Automakers must use new technology
InsideHook reports that current legislation targets automakers and seeks to require them to build new cars that contain technology to thwart drunk driving. The full process remains a few years in the future. First, automakers must identify promising technology to stop impaired drivers from turning on the ignition switch. Then the Department of Transportation must determine the best of available options.
Legislation should allow automakers a reasonable time frame in which to comply and implement the technology. This technology could come to new models as early as 2026.
Manufacturers can choose research paths
The technological advances to stop impaired drivers might go well beyond standard breathalyzer devices that now go into certain vehicles. Camera technology could keep an eye on the behavior of drivers, spotting troubling signs that indicate the influence of alcohol or drugs.
The cameras watch the driver to make sure he or she remains focused on the task. Some signs will trigger warning messages that allow the driver to improve behavior. If this does not happen, the system will slowly shut down the vehicle, turn on hazard lights and cause the auto to come to a stop.
Automakers can also ramp up the types of driver-assistance systems already in place in newer vehicles. Experts hope this will decrease accidents caused by drunk driving.