WASHINGTON — What if your car wouldn’t let you drive drunk?
Two senators want auto makers to build technology into every new car that would, essentially, take away your key if you’ve had a few too many.
Fighting back tears, Meghan Abbas held the last pictures of her brother and his family. In January, her family of five was returning home from the holidays when a truck slammed into their car. The driver had a blood-alcohol level nearly four times the legal limit. “He should be here. They should all be here,” Abbas said. “Drunk driving. We need to stop it.”
Florida Republican Senator Rick Scott says the driver should never have been able to get behind the wheel in the first place. “Drunk driving is the number one cause of death on America’s roadways. Deaths that are 100% preventable,” Scott said.
Scott and New Mexico Democrat Tom Udall introduced The Ride Act to jump start research for devices that can determine a driver’s blood-alcohol level by simply touching the steering wheel or pressing the engine start button.
The bill would create a $10 million-dollar pilot program for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and automakers to develop and implement the new technology by 2024.
Former NHTSA administrator Joan Claybrook thinks the technology could save the country as much as $200 billion a year.
“You can imagine what we could do with that funds — that money — to advance our society rather than pick up the pieces,” Claybrook said.