The United States could be set to leapfrog the European Union on requirements for in-car technology to reduce drink-driving.
President Biden’s recently-passed flagship infrastructure package contains a requirement for carmakers to fit monitoring systems to new vehicles to stop intoxicated drivers taking the wheel. The technology to be used is yet to be determined.
It is estimated that a third of traffic deaths in the US involve drink-driving. In the EU, the figure is estimated at 25%.
In the EU, all new vehicles must be designed to enable a standardised connection to an alcohol interlock by next July. But an alcohol interlock device is only fitted in certain countries when required by a court, or when a fleet operator decides to install such devices.
In addition, some countries require alcohol interlocks on certain categories of vehicle such as buses and coaches. The new US requirement for new vehicles appears to be much more far reaching, as the technology would have to be fitted on all new cars.
ETSC has estimated that 5000 deaths would have been prevented in the EU in 2018, had all drivers been sober.