BURIED IN THE NEW BILL: “ADVANCED IMPAIRED DRIVING TECHNOLOGY” . ..
If passed and signed into law, it will mandate “a system that … passively and accurately detect[s] whether the blood alcohol concentration of a driver of a motor vehicle is equal to or greater than the blood alcohol concentration” of .08, in which case the system would “prevent or limit motor vehicle operation.”
Automobile manufacturers would have a three-year grace period to comply with the regulation.
The provision gives ammunition to Republican critics who say the scope of the bill expands far beyond bridges and tunnels. Sen. Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) said he would oppose the bill over its subsidies for green energy, while Sen. Mike Lee (R., Utah) questioned whether the federal government could efficiently allocate more than $1 trillion in spending. Meanwhile, a number of House Democrats say they oppose the deal for not doing enough. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) attacked her partymates in the Senate for compromising with Republicans.
“It certainly looks like this opens the door for mandatory breathalyzers in every new car. It’s crazy,” said one senior Republican aide, who requested anonymity to speak candidly due to ongoing negotiations in the Senate.
Although the exact type of alcohol monitor the bill would require is unclear, passive alcohol sensors are described in a report by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). The group recommends “driver monitoring systems, touch-based systems that can read your blood alcohol concentration through your fingertips and air-sampling systems that can test and isolate just the air exhaled by the driver.”
MADD president Alex Otte praised Senate negotiators for using the infrastructure bill as a vehicle to pass the group’s “most significant” legislative push in recent years.
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