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Drunk Driving Prevention Tech Will Arrive Thanks to U.S. Infrastructure Bill

People call it the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, U.S. Infrastructure Bill, and a lot more, but its real name is H.R. 3684 - Invest in America Act. This bill proposes significant investments in multiple aspects of the American infrastructure. Still, it also wants to make “Safe Streets for All,” as the White House calls its traffic safety program. Among the measures to be adopted are advanced drunk driving prevention technology and one to prevent kids from being stranded in cars on hot days.
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Both measures are included in the bill, respectively under sections 10105 and 10101. The idea is to push for the adoption of detection systems that could avoid both situations. If they already existed, they could have prevented a drunk driver from cruising at high speeds on a public road on an uncontrolled Tesla Model recently, for example.

According to section 10105, the schedule is to complete research for adopting drunk driving detection systems “no later than two years after the date of the enactment of this subsection.” In four years, the Secretary of Transportation shall implement tests on these systems or justify why he didn’t.

This will happen simultaneously with other targets. After 18 months of the enactment, the Secretary of Transportation “shall issue a notice of proposed rulemaking to prescribe a motor vehicle safety standard.” In three years, the plan is to “prescribe a final rule containing the motor vehicle safety standard.” The document also states that “the final rule shall specify an effective date that provides at least two years, but no more than three years, to allow for manufacturing compliance.” If it gets approved as it is, automakers should rush to implement such technologies.

When it comes to the rules to avoid heatstrokes, section 10101 is even more straightforward. It determines that the Secretary of Transport “shall issue a final rule” about a system that “detects the presence of an unattended occupant in the passenger compartment” of “all new passenger motor vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 10,000 pounds or less.” This system must engage “a warning to reduce death and injury resulting from vehicular heatstroke, particularly incidents involving children.”

The motor vehicle safety standard prescribed shall require that the system “cannot be disabled, overridden, reset, or recalibrated in such a way that the system will no longer detect the presence of an unattended occupant in the passenger compartment of the vehicle and engage a warning.”

If the U.S. establishes these systems as mandatory, all other major markets should follow suit and adopt similar rules. That would be a fantastic push towards safer streets for all indeed.


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