Congress Mandates New Car Technology to Stop Drunk Driving in GA

Our Georgia injury lawyers represent many people who were injured by drunk drivers. These accidents are truly devastating because they are completely preventable. You may be aware that Congress has enacted new legislation which requires car manufacturers to install new technology in order to stop drunk driving. All new cars may be self-driving within a few years. In the face of this news, you might be wondering, “How might self-driving cars affect drunk driving accidents?”

Covid-19 Spike of Auto Accidents

In the first half of 2021, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported a 20% spike in traffic collisions. The U.S. Department of Transportation released a nationwide roadway safety strategy this month with the goal of reducing these vehicular injuries and deaths. Speeding, impaired driving, and distracted driving were listed as factors behind the spike during the Covid-19 pandemic. Driving impaired may refer to those who are drunk, high on legal or illegal drugs, fell asleep at the wheel, or who may have had a medical emergency behind the wheel, and so on. Nevertheless, this spike has motivated some more vigilant laws and policies.

DUI Statistics

Each year, around 10,000 people are killed due to alcohol-related car crashes in the United States. DUIs and drunk or impaired drivers account for nearly 30% of all traffic fatalities nationwide. In one recent year alone, there were 375 DUI-related fatalities in Georgia, and 30 of these involved drivers who were impaired were under age 21.

New Technology to Reduce Drunk Driving

Congress is now mandating that car manufacturers install new technology to curb drunk and impaired driving. New self-driving cars will be required to have monitoring systems. These systems feature inside-the-car passive monitoring that detects whether a driver is watching the road, exhibiting signs of drowsiness, loss of consciousness, or intoxication. If the technology detects signs that a driver is impaired in these ways, it will first warn the driver. If the potentially unsafe behavior persists, the hazard lights will come on, the car will slow itself down, and the car will pull itself over to the side of the road. 

This new DUI-monitoring legislation specifies that the technology must “passively” monitor the driver to protect her or his privacy. This will likely consist of infrared cameras in the driver’s area of the car (essentially heat-detection). These monitoring systems are set to roll out in all new vehicles by 2026. While it will take time for this new technology to become used by the majority of drivers on the road, this is a great start. 

Since the early 1980s, when wearing seat belts became mandatory, that alone has reduced car crash-related deaths by 50%. Since the late 1970s, mandatory car seat use for children has reduced their car accident fatalities by 70 to 80%. We are hopeful that this new monitoring technology will have a similar effect. With fewer DUI drivers on the roads there should be less accidents and thus fewer injured victims.

Our North Georgia Injury Attorneys Advocate for DUI Victims

At Banks, Stubbs, & McFarland, a Georgia personal injury law firm, we can help if you’ve been injured through the negligence of a drinking driver. Set up your consultation today. Contact us at 770.887.1209 or submit this contact form to get started.