By the end of the year, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration hopes to unveil recommendations for vehicle systems that seek to force drivers into behaving properly, in some cases before the car can even be started.
There are three technologies in question. The first is a collision avoidance system that’s capable of warning a driver when an accident is imminent. There are also such systems that are capable of taking evasive action when the driver fails to do the same.
The other two systems that the NHTSA is interested in potentially expanding or making mandatory in some new vehicles are likely to be a bit more controversial. The first would be a seatbelt interlock that does not allow a vehicle to be started until all persons inside have engaged their seatbelts. Automakers believe this would be a cheaper alternative than to invest heavily in structural changes that could protect persons who are otherwise not buckled up.
The other system is similar, except it doesn’t allow the vehicle to be started if the driver has alcohol in his or her system. Unlike current technology that requires those convicted of drunk driving to breathe into a tube to start their vehicle, the system being developed and considered by the NHTSA requires no additional input from a driver other than attempting to start the car.