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Driving while intoxicated, the US says enough

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ROME – Drunk driving represents a serious problem for road safety all over the world. Up to now, the various prevention campaigns have not been able to achieve the desired effect and not even very high fines and the withdrawal of the license seem to be able to stem this very dangerous vice. Now, given that “good manners” cannot dissuade heavy drinkers, the United States is making a popular demand for mandatory technology to prevent drunk driving in new vehicles by 2026. A measure which would in fact allow America to surpass the European Union in terms of the requirements for in-car technology capable of drastically cutting the phenomenon of drunk driving. On the other hand, President Joe Biden’s infrastructure package, with bipartisan congressional approval, contains a specific obligation for automobile manufacturers to install monitoring systems on new vehicles capable of blocking drunk drivers before they can drive off. a vehicle. Currently, the technology to be used has yet to be specified and various systems are being studied that do not require any action by the driver, such as, for example, the presence of infrared sensors to be placed on the steering wheel or on the ignition button.

An intervention that was necessary because it is estimated that one third of deaths due to road accidents in the United States are due to driving under the influence of alcohol, while in the European Union, the figure is estimated at around 25%. And again within the EU, all new vehicles must be designed to allow a standardized connection to an alcoholic blocking device by next July but in addition to the predisposition, this is not possible because the interlock is actually installed only in some countries when it is required by a court, or when a fleet operator decides to install such devices himself. Furthermore, in some countries the presence of blocking devices is required in case of detection of a blood alcohol level that is not allowed only on certain categories of vehicles, such as buses and coaches. Hence, the US measure for new vehicles appears to be much more extensive, as interlock technology should be installed and active on all new cars. A provision whose application is also hoped for in the Old Continent by the European transport safety council according to which as many as five thousand deaths would have been avoided in the EU in 2018, if all the drivers had been sober. (Maurilio Rigo)

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