Two senators have introduced a bill that would require all new vehicles to come equipped with technology that would prevent the driver from operating under the influence of alcohol.
The bill is called the Reduce Impaired Driving for Everyone Act of 2019 (RIDE Act of 2019) was introduced on Wednesday by Senators Rick Scott and Tom Udall.
The bill would require the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to work with vehicle manufacturers on “Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS)” technology.
Five million dollars per year would be put toward the effort of developing the DADSS technology, which lawmakers say could include “devices to determine a driver’s blood alcohol level by touching the steering wheel or engine start button” or “sensors that passively monitor a driver’s breath or eye- movements.” The summary of the bill describes these as “potential technologies” and says that vehicle manufacturers are “working” on the technology.
The bill would allot $25 million for testing the technology on a fleet of 2500 vehicles as part of a pilot program.
Following the completion of the pilot program, the bill would then require the NHTSA to issue a Final Rule requiring vehicle manufacturers to implement the DADDSS technology in new vehicles.
“The fact is that deaths from drunk driving are completely preventable – so we have an obligation to do everything we can to prevent such senseless tragedies. I’ve been in this fight for a long time, and we’ve made real progress. But we are still losing thousands of lives each year to drunk driving crashes. Every drunk driving death is one too many – and one family too many forced to confront unimaginable pain. With this legislation, we have the opportunity to help end drunk driving for good by putting alcohol detection technology in all new motor vehicles,” said Udall. “We owe it to those we’ve lost—to honor them with action.”
Scott and Udall say that the implementation of alcohol detection technology in all vehicles would save 7000 lives per year.