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

NTSB recommends technologies to curb drunk driving and speeding in new vehicles
Written by boustamohamed31


The federal agency responsible for conducting independent crash investigations has recommended technology in new vehicles to limit speeding and prevent impaired driving in an effort to reduce the growing number of related fatal crashes.

The National Transportation Safety Board’s recommendation for alcohol impairment detection systems is on its way to being required after Law on investment in infrastructure and employment gave the Department of Transportation three years to craft a mandate for such a feature in new vehicles. On the board repeat recommendation to incentivize intelligent speed-adjustment systems, however, has yet to gain broader federal support and may face resistance from American drivers accustomed to having speed limits enforced by law enforcement rather than the vehicle itself .

The NTSB’s recommendations — which cannot be implemented without approval by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration — specifically include requiring all new vehicles to have “passive vehicle-integrated alcohol impairment detection systems, advanced monitoring systems of the driver, or a combination of the two, which would be capable of preventing or limiting the operation of the vehicle if it detected the driver’s impairment by alcohol.

Reiterating a recommendation made in 2017, the NTSB also suggested NHTSA encourage “vehicle manufacturers and consumers to adopt Intelligent Speed ​​Adaptation (ISA) systems that would prevent speed-related crashes.”

Intelligent speed adaptation systems can range from a warning system that emits visual or audible signals when the driver is speeding, to a system that electronically limits the vehicle’s speed. The NTSB does not specify which type of system should be adopted.

An investigation into a crash in California that killed nine people, including seven children, on New Year’s Day 2021 led to Tuesday’s recommendations, according to the NTSB. Investigators, the agency said, “found that the driver of the SUV (involved in the crash) was under the influence of alcohol and was speeding.”

NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendi said Tuesday that the technology “could prevent the tens of thousands of deaths from impaired driving and speeding-related crashes that we see in the U.S. every year.”

Thirty-two people die in alcohol-related crashes every day — more than 11,000 each year, according to the NHTSA. It reported that deaths rose by 5% in 2021.

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

NHTSA said in a statement Monday that it “has begun work to fulfill the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act’s rulemaking requirement regarding advanced technology for impaired driving in vehicles.”

Such technologies include cameras and sensors outside the vehicle that monitor driving performance, cameras and sensors inside the vehicle that monitor the driver’s head and eyes, and alcohol sensors to determine if the driver is drunk and subsequently interfere with the vehicle to move.

The upcoming ordinance has raised concerns and questions about privacy about whether the systems would misclassify certain people, such as those with disabilities, as intoxicated.

Intelligent speed adaptation systems have gained some popularity in the European market, where they will be mandatory in all new cars sold there from July 2024. The new cars will issue either a “cascading acoustic warning”, “cascading vibrating warning”, “haptic feedback through the accelerator pedal” or a “speed control function,” according to the European Commission. The driver can override the ISA system, the commission says.

New York is also piloting a fleet of city vehicles with the ISA system in place. The city announced in August that 50 vehicles driven by city employees will have systems that will set a maximum speed for the vehicle and “also be adaptive based on the local speed limit.” The system has an active modality that will automatically slow down the vehicle and a passive modality that will warn the driver when he is speeding.

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

This story has been updated with comments from NHTSA.

About the author


Leave a Comment