Tuesday, August 12, 2014

NHTSA Studying Drunk Driver Detection Technology

Automotive News reports that federal regulators are studying the potential implementation of vehicular technology to detect drunk drivers. Nat Beuse, associate administrator for vehicle safety research at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), has revealed that alcohol detection technology is one approach the agency is exploring to reduce traffic fatalities.

Specific details regarding functionality or suppliers were not offered, but Beuse says an integrated alcohol detection system in vehicles would reduce the number of alcohol-related fatalities on U.S. roadways. While vehicular fatalities have declined in recent decades, they still account for more than 33,000 deaths annually and cost approximately $827 billion per year, he says.

The practical function­ of such a system–disabling a vehicle versus displaying an alert to the driver, for example–is a policy question that requires more deliberation, federal officials say. The technology still requires additional development and testing, but could be prepared for widespread implementation by 2018, reportedly.