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Monitoring Systems Aim to Stop Drunk, Distracted and Fatigued Driving

Numerous technological advances have increased automobile safety over the past decades. Seat belts and air bags are now standard on the cars we buy. Newer innovations such as rear-view cameras and blind-spot detection are increasingly common. Now, comprehensive Driver Monitoring Systems (DMS) have the ability to stop some of the dangerous behaviors that lead to thousands of fatal accidents each year.

One part of the infrastructure bill signed by President Biden in November is a mandate to the auto industry that a DMS — which passively determines if a driver is putting themselves and others at risk — be standard equipment on new cars by 2026. The technology is already available and Europe is also requiring auto manufacturers to install such equipment. Driver Monitoring Systems utilize a series of infrared cameras that can help determine if a vehicle is operating erratically. When the movement of the car indicates a problem, a warning light goes on. Should the dangerous driving continue, hazard lights might be activated and the DMS could cause the vehicle to reduce speed or stop completely.

Monitoring systems can be useful against longtime problems, such as impaired and fatigued driving, as well as the increasing danger associated with motorists who are distracted behind the wheel. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration attributes about 3,000 deaths each year to drivers who fail to pay proper attention to the road because they are occupied with their cell phones or distracted in another way.

With approximately 10,000 Americans dying annually in alcohol-related accidents, there have been calls to take a more aggressive approach. Equipping every car with a breathalyzer that stops the ignition from working if the reading detects intoxication could sharply cut down on crashes. However, car makers and the public likely would balk at such an active, comprehensive approach. Currently, many states require the installation of these ignition interlock devices for motorists who are convicted of driving under the influence.

Ford’s BlueCruise, GM’s Super Cruise and other companies’ DMS systems can cut down on serious and fatal auto accidents, but no system can eliminate road dangers. Moreover, with cars lasting longer than ever, it will likely take many years for the new technology to produce meaningful reductions in collisions stemming from fatigued, distracted and impaired driving.

If you have been hurt in a car crash, Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith & Tartaglia, LLP has the skill and experience to help you collect the compensation you deserve. Our accomplished New York attorneys handle litigation and insurance claims for accident victims across Nassau and Suffolk counties.