Drunk driving remains a problem in South Dakota and throughout the United States. Countless crashes continue to injure and kill. Memorials dot the rural roads and highways nationwide. While nothing can prevent all DUI deaths, the continuing problem still requires some type of solution.
The National Transportation Safety Board has offered a solution, recommending all newly manufactured vehicles be installed with blood alcohol monitoring systems that can prevent a driver under the influence from traveling. The recommendation also calls for cameras pointed at the driver to monitor the behavior and ensure alertness.
Should the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) enact the proposal, the U.S. could see a drop in drunk driving crashes representing the most significant factor in highway deaths nationwide.
The NHTSA painted a picture of a nation in crisis. In 2020, more than 11,000 people lost their lives in drunk driving crashes. That alarming number represents a 14 percent increase over the previous year, with the state accounting for nearly a third of all U.S. traffic fatalities.
More than 43,000 people were killed in accidents in 2021, the highest number in 16 years. Estimates for the first six months of 2022 saw an increase, with deaths declining from April through June. While it could be a promising sign, authorities are taking a “wait and see” approach.
While the NTSB lacks regulatory authority, they can request that agencies take action that could become effective in three years. It is not the first time that the NTSB has pushed for alcohol monitoring tech, an initiative that started in 2012.
In addition, the agency and 16 automakers (collectively known as the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety) have been financing research on alcohol monitoring. With multiple groups involved and asking questions, a solution may not be hard to find.