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Drunk driving prevention tech included in infrastructure bill

Included in the new massive infrastructure bill is legislation directing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, to begin the process of getting drunk driving prevention technology into vehicles.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving said placing passive drunk driving prevention technology into vehicles could potentially save 10,000 lives a year.
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, there are currently more than 240 forms of vehicle technology, like lane assist or cameras that monitor a driver’s eyes, which could be reprogrammed to combat drunk driving and safely get a vehicle to pull over with an impaired driver.
Posted at 12:30 PM, Nov 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-15 17:33:14-05

WASHINGTON, D.C. — When Rana Abbas Taylor thinks of her family, what happened to them two years ago on their way home from a vacation is still painfully fresh.

“They were killed on January 6, 2019,” Taylor said. “Obviously, our world was upended, and for a very long time, I wasn't necessarily in a state of anything other than shock.”

The family of five - Taylor's sister, brother-in-law nieces and nephew – was all killed by a drunk driver.

It’s an experience that brought her to speak up for drunk driving prevention and the vehicle technology that might prevent it.

“I could not say no,” Taylor said. “I certainly wasn't going to say no when the injustice was knocking on my front door.”

Included in the new massive infrastructure bill is legislation directing the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, or NHTSA, to begin the process of getting drunk driving prevention technology into vehicles as a standard practice - similar to seat belts and airbags - potentially within five years.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving said it could save 10,000 lives a year.

“We don't know which technology they're going to pick at this point. That's what the rule-making process is for,” said Alex Otte, national president of MADD. “But it also under one of three categories driving performance monitoring, driver monitoring or alcohol detection.”

Otte said there are currently more than 240 forms of vehicle technology, like lane assist or cameras that monitor a driver’s eyes, which could be reprogrammed to combat drunk driving and safely get a vehicle to pull over with an impaired driver.

“Of course, our mission is to end drunk driving, but we know that a lot of these monitoring technologies could have an impact on things like drowsy driving, drugged driving and distracted driving as well,” Otte said.

It’s something Rana Abbas Taylor says could benefit so many others so that other families might never know a loss like hers.

“This is a game-changer,” Taylor said. “We are making our roads safer for anybody that gets on there.”