As part of the new $1 trillion infrastructure bill expected to be signed by President Biden, Congress has a new mandate for automakers: Use technology to keep drunk drivers from driving.
Under new legislation, automakers are expected to install monitoring systems to prevent intoxicated drivers from being behind the wheel, to be implemented by as early as 2026.
The Transportation Department will determine the best form of technology to install in new cars, and will give automakers time to comply.
Analysts suggest that infrared camera technology would be the most likely technology to monitor driver behavior.
General Motors, BMW and Nissan is already installing the technology to track driver attentiveness while using partially automated driver-assist systems.
The cameras make sure a driver is watching the road, and they look for signs of drowsiness, loss of consciousness or impairment.
If signs are spotted, the cars will warn the driver, and if the behavior persists, the car would turn on its hazard lights, slow down and pull to the side of the road.
Last month, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that an estimated 20,160 people died in traffic collisions in the first half of 2021, the highest first-half total since 2006. The agency has pointed to speeding, impaired driving and not wearing seatbelts during the COVID-19 pandemic as factors behind the spike.