Nissan Is Ahead of Its Time in Developing Anti-Drunk Driving Technology Over a Decade Before Potential Federal Mandate

Lisa Steuer McArdle
· 3 min read
drunk driving
has been a problem ever since the vehicle was invented. But soon, government mandates and technology developed by carmakers like Nissan may help save lives.
If passed, the U.S. infrastructure bill will mandate
new cars
to come equipped with drunk driving detection technology.
But years before this new bill was first introduced, Nissan had already developed a
concept car
with the technology to detect alcohol in the breath and sweat of the driver.

Impaired driving technology in the Nissan concept car

According to
Nissan Motor Corporation
, the company introduced a concept car in 2007 with features that could detect the presence of alcohol when starting the vehicle.
Nissan’s concept car has an alcohol sensor in the transmission shift knob, and in the driver’s and passengers’ seats. They all work together to detect traces of alcohol in the cabin past a certain threshold.
If the driver's seat or shift knob has detected any alcohol while still parked, the transmission locks up and makes the car immobile.
Another feature the 2007 car displayed was the facial monitoring system. This system was built to monitor for signs of fatigue or distraction by monitoring the blinking rate. Once detected, a voice message alert is issued and the seat belt is tightened to gain the attention of the driver.
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Other technology by Nissan

Another concept that has been developed further since 2007 is the road monitoring system. We have technology in vehicles that monitors lanes and alerts drivers when the vehicle is drifting out of the current lane. This helps with
distracted driving
These concepts will attempt to prevent drivers that are only slightly impaired from moving the vehicle. With sensors that can detect alcohol in the air and on the shift knob, the technology could save lives.

Criticisms of the technology

There are some who believe that there are a lot of flaws in the technology concept.
For instance, some say a bartender could be locked out of their drive home simply because there is spilled alcohol on their clothes.
Others claim that hand sanitizer and wearing gloves could bypass the sensor on the knob. It’s true that some criticisms may need to be considered before widespread use.

Proposed bill to require the technology in all vehicles

According to
Car and Driver
, Congress introduced a bill that could force new cars to include increased technology detection for impaired drivers. If the $78 billion surface transportation bill is passed, it will require all new vehicles to make the equipment standard in three years.
The bill is not specific on what type of "advanced drunk and impaired driving prevention technology safety standard" would be required. The bill does require that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ensure that the technology works accurately.
As advances in technology assist in keeping impaired drivers off the roads, there are still those that choose to endanger other's lives and their own. Protect your vehicle and yourself with ample
car insurance
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