Featured Anti-DUI technology for all new cars has its skeptics

Published on November 21st, 2021 📆 | 2995 Views ⚑

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Anti-DUI technology for all new cars has its skeptics

Q: I’m curious about the lack of dialogue on the alcohol detection system being considered. It seems it’s a forgone conclusion to happen.

I will preface this by saying I have lost friends to drunk driving crashes and I have no tolerance for drivers under the influence. I also support laws that mandate alcohol detection systems for those with DUI convictions.

Jim Pollock

A: And you have some numbers to share.

Q: Statistics show that alcohol is the cause of about  25% of traffic deaths. The California Office of Traffic Safety has the 2019 traffic fatality number at around 3,600, which means that about 900 deaths were alcohol-related.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that the percentage of traffic deaths attributed to speeding in 2019 was also around 25%. I don’t know what percent of those speeders were DUI or vice versa, but what I do know is that there has never been the same level of discussion about mandatory lowering of horsepower or maximum possible speed of cars and trucks.

Why is that? It seems to me that some members of society pick on alcohol because it’s easy.

Sorry for the rant, and I’m sure I will get flak for my comments. It’s just that maybe we should look at all causes of traffic fatalities and not just one.

Jim Pollock

A: But drunk driving is the big fear, along with speeding. 

Right now, new rules should be ready within three years, with a two-year period for automakers to have technology installed on new vehicles to reduce drunk driving. This could include a number of things, such as a breathalyzer, a skin sensor in the gear shift, infrared cameras that monitor a driver’s behavior and look for signs of impairment.

Q: Here we go again. Government has mandated a technology that does not yet exist to reduce drunken driving. My prediction is that this gear will be rushed into production without enough testing. There could be bugs in the system that occasionally lock the car when the driver is stone cold sober. Eventually, this will happen in an emergency situation. And someone may die.

My question is whether their relatives get to sue the automakers or the government. Wait — I already know the answer.

Tony Lima, San Francisco

A: One novel idea is to monitor the driver’s head and eyes using a camera or other sensors inside the vehicle.

Q: I was so pleased learn that we may get tougher on drunk drivers.This is long overdue.

Belinda Hayes, San Jose

A: Yes, it is. Remember that every 52 minutes in the U.S., a person dies in a drunk driving crash.

Look for Gary Richards at Facebook.com/mr.roadshow, or contact him at [email protected] or 408-920-5335.

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