One automaker is emphasizing an unusual selling point for its future autonomous technology: the ability to stop drunk drivers. Despite widespread public awareness campaigns and intensified law enforcement activity against driving under the influence, drunk driving continues to pose a major threat on Illinois highways. In 2017 alone, 10,874 people were killed due to drunk drivers, says the federal National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Thousands more were injured, often severely.
Volvo Cars is announcing that it will begin installing a system in its vehicles in the early 2020s that will take action to put a stop to drunk driving. New Volvos will include cameras and sensors that monitor driver behavior for signs of drunkenness or excessive distraction. According to the automaker, this system is designed to prevent deadly or dangerous car accidents before they take place. It would check the driver for signs of intoxication, including closed eyes for an extended period of time or failing to provide any input at the steering wheel.
If the driver failed to respond to warning alarms, the car's autonomous systems would kick into gear. The car could take a range of actions depending on the situation. For example, it could slow down a speeding vehicle. In more serious cases, it could navigate to the side of the road in order to park safely. This is not the first safety-oriented option that Volvo has announced for the future; the company said that it will install a 112 mph maximum speed limit for its cars in 2020.
While technology may provide a future option for dealing with the scourge of drunk driving, too many people continue to suffer serious injuries in car accidents as a result of negligent behavior. A personal injury lawyer might work with people injured in these crashes to pursue compensation for their damages.