NTSB recommends technologies to curb drunk driving and speeding in new vehicles


The federal agency responsible for independent accident investigation has recommended technologies in new vehicles to limit speed and prevent poor driving in an effort to cut the growing number of related fatal accidents.

After the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act gave the Department of Transportation three years to formulate a mandate for such a feature in new vehicles, the National Transportation Safety Board’s recommendation of alcohol loss detection systems leads to the requirement. Is. However, the board’s re-recommendation to encourage intelligent speed optimization systems has not yet received widespread federal support and may face resistance from American drivers accustomed to speed limits being enforced by law enforcement rather than vehicles. Is.

The NTSB’s recommendations — which cannot be implemented without being adopted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration — specifically require all new vehicles to have “passive vehicle-integrated alcohol loss detection systems, advanced driver monitoring systems, or a combination of the two.” shall be able to prevent or limit vehicle operation if it detects a driver’s impairment from alcohol.”

Reiterating a recommendation made in 2017, the NTSB suggested NHTSA “encourage automakers and consumers to adopt intelligent speed optimization (ISA) systems that will prevent speed-related accidents.”

Intelligent speed optimization systems can range from an alert system that issues visual or audio alerts when a driver is moving toward a system that electronically limits the vehicle’s speed. The NTSB did not specify what type of system should be adopted.

According to the NTSB, the investigation into the California crash on New Year’s Day in 2021 killed nine people, including seven children. Investigators, the agency said, “found that the SUV driver (involved in the accident) had a high level of alcohol intoxication and was operating at an excessive speed.”

NTSB President Jennifer Homendy said Tuesday that the technologies could “prevent thousands of deaths annually in the US from accidents related to poor driving and speeding.”

According to the NHTSA, thirty-two people die each day from alcohol-related collisions — more than 11,000 each year. It reported that fatalities climbed 5% in 2021.

There are several technologies aimed at preventing impaired driving that are being evaluated by the Department of Transportation, according to the advocacy group Mothers Against Drunk Driving. The department was given three years to formulate a requirement that new vehicles have “advanced drunk and impaired driving prevention technology” as part of the infrastructure law, which passed with bipartisan support last year. .

NHTSA said in a statement on Monday that it “has begun work to address the requirement of a bipartisan infrastructure law to create regulations relating to advanced impaired driving technology in vehicles.”

Such technologies include cameras and sensors outside a vehicle that monitor driving performance, cameras and sensors inside a vehicle that monitor a driver’s head and eyes, and alcohol sensors to determine if a driver is intoxicated. or not and subsequently prevents the vehicle from moving forward.

The potential regulation has led to privacy concerns and questions about whether the system would unfairly classify certain people, such as those with disabilities, as being intoxicated.

Intelligent speed optimization systems have gained some traction in the European market, where they will be mandatory in all new cars sold there from July 2024. New cars will issue either a “Cascade Acoustic Warning,” a “Cascade Vibration Alert.” Haptic feedback through the “acceleration pedal” or “speed control function” according to the European Commission. The Commission states that a driver can override the ISA system.

New York City also operates a fleet of city vehicles with an ISA system. The city announced in August that the 50 vehicles operated by city employees would have systems that set the maximum speed for the vehicle and would also “adapt based on local speed limits.” The system consists of an active mode, which will automatically slow a vehicle, and passive modality, which will alert a driver during an over speeding.

The vehicles will be retrofitted and installed in vehicles from various city departments, and will also be tested on 14 new, all-electric Ford Mach ES.

This story has been updated with comment from the NHTSA.

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