Every time you set out on public roads, you risk being injured by an irresponsible driver. The dangers of speeding and drunk driving are well known, yet many drivers continue to do one or both.
New proposals from the National Transport Safety Board (NTSB) would, if accepted, change that.
The board is calling on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which is in charge of vehicle safety, to force manufacturers to do two things:
- Install an automatic system to monitor for alcohol
- Install a system to monitor for speeding
Will it happen?
Federal lawmakers have already passed a law ordering the NHTSA to draw up rules regarding the mandatory installation of alcohol detection systems in new vehicles. It gave them three years to do so.
How might these systems work?
For them to be effective, they need to do more than just tell the driver they are going too fast or are too drunk to drive. There needs to be some way for the systems to prevent the driver from continuing.
It should be easier in the case of alcohol, as the system could stop someone before they even start. Stopping someone who is already traveling at speed requires more thought, as any sudden intervention could be dangerous. For instance, you cannot just cut power to a vehicle that is overtaking at speed because it might mean it fails to overtake in time to avoid a head-on collision with an oncoming car.
These systems won’t rule out problems altogether
New safety requirements take time to have an effect because they generally only apply to new vehicles. Manufacturers will be given time to implement them, and it will take years until enough people update their vehicles for a significant difference to be made.
If a drunk or speeding driver injures you, claiming compensation will probably always be necessary.