US agency takes first step toward requiring new vehicles to prevent drunk or impaired driving

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced on Tuesday that it is starting the process to put a new federal safety standard in place requiring the technology in all new passenger vehicles

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FILE – A sign warns motorists as they approach a sobriety checkpoint on State Route 4 in Fairfield, Ohio June 15, 2007. U.S. auto safety regulators say they have taken the first step toward requiring devices in vehicles that prevent drunk or impaired driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration announced on Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2023, that it is starting the process to put a new federal safety standard in place requiring the technology in all new passenger vehicles. /The Cincinnati Enquirer via AP, File)Glenn Hartong/AP

DETROIT (AP) — U.S. auto safety regulators say they have taken the first step toward requiring devices in vehicles that prevent drunk or impaired driving.

Such devices were required in the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law that was passed by Congress in 2021.

The agency says an advance notice of proposed rule making will help it gather information about the state of technology to detect impaired driving. The regulation would set standards for the devices once technology is mature, NHTSA said in a statement.

It can take years for a regulation to make its way through the process, which includes public comment periods.

In 2021, the latest year for which statistics are available, nearly 13,400 people were killed in drunken driving crashes, costing society $280 billion in medical expenses, lost wages and loss of quality of life, the statement said.

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