The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration has not yet released specific details on what this technology will entail, but some experts suggest it may include a breathalyzer fingerprint or a breathalyzer inside the vehicle.
In the United States alone, around 10,000 deaths occur annually due to car accidents involving alcohol.
To combat this issue, some drivers who have been convicted of drunk driving will be required to use a breathalyzer device that connects to their car’s ignition interlock. If their blood alcohol level is above the legal limit, the vehicle will automatically disable. The vehicle will either come to a stop or pull over to the side of the road as a precautionary measure.
Supporters of this new technology believe it will help prevent drunk driving, but some in the auto industry are concerned about potential malfunction and backfiring.
By 2026, the cost of the new drunk driving detection technology will be included in the overall price of every new vehicle, which has led to concerns about why individuals without DUI records must pay extra for a technology they will not use. The overall auto safety program is estimated to cost $17 billion.
Critics argue that this legislation has the potential to create a slippery slope. It could lead to the disabling of vehicles for various reasons, not just for driving under the influence. Drivers may be required to provide identification to determine if they are offenders who have to breathe into a breathalyzer to make sure they would not re-offend by driving drunk, even if they are driving a vehicle that does not belong to them. This could result in constant tracking and identification of individuals in their cars, which could have detrimental consequences.
Opponents also say that the new policy of requiring individuals to blow into a tube to start their car is invasive. They express concern that the law, which is intended to target drunk drivers, could be expanded to include all “dangerous” drivers. This could lead to a risky precedent where cars can be impaired or disabled by outsiders without the owner’s control, violating people’s freedom of movement. In addition, there are fears that powerful individuals or organizations may use this technology to limit car usage for environmental or political reasons.
As an illustration, consider the case of political dissenters whose bank accounts are frequently closed without warning or explanation. This type of arbitrary action could also be extended to vehicles, with dissidents’ cars being disabled or restricted to prevent them from moving freely.
Furthermore, if influential individuals decide that people are using their cars excessively, they may impose a limit on the usage of cars in an effort to reduce emissions and protect the environment. Imagine a scenario in which a monthly quota on how much you can use your car is instituted.