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All new cars in the European Union will need to be fitted with alcohol breathalyzers following the EU rule that every car will have to have speed limiting technology installed. The rule was already seen as an overstep by many, but now the EU has taken it a step further and is requiring breathalyzers in every single new vehicle. It seems as though the EU Commission is viewing these safety measures as a package deal to keep the roads safer, but at the cost of some individual freedoms.

Safety Measures in 2022

In addition to the automated speed limiting technology that uses GPS and camera recognition software to determine the appropriate speed, there are other features that the EU hopes will keep the roads safe. First there is a system that warns the driver if they show signs of drowsiness or if something needs their attention. The alcohol ignition interlock device prevents drunk drivers by catching the influence of alcohol and requiring the driver to prove they are sober by blowing into a breathalyzer. This will connect to the engine so that a person under the influence cannot start the car. While the equipment is already used in the United States, Canada, and Australia, the EU will mandate it in every car. There is even a chip that can alert the police if a person tries to disconnect the breathalyzer.

Overreach

With the speed limiting technology mandate, a lot of people made an outcry about the overreach of power. Furthermore there are concerns about whether the technology is ready. 5G internet is not yet widespread and the GPS depends on that speed.  There are concerns that since the technology hasn’t been around for a long time, it may still have kinks to be worked out. While the alcohol ignition interlock device has been tested longer than the speed limiting technology, it will require every single driver to prove that they are not drunk to even turn on the engine. It will likely improve the roads, but it is undeniably a stamp on the power that the EU has over many countries.

The mandate may not even start roads safe right away. The AA has issued a warning saying that the plan to fit cars the intelligence speed assistance system could actually make the roads less safe. There is a lot of room for error, especially in lower speed limit zones. If you need to get out of the way of an oncoming vehicle, pushing hard on the gas to override the ISA system might get in the way and cause accidents. According to the site MoneyPug, which is known as a platform to find car insurance, these measures will likely decrease costs of insurance over time but at first the speed limiters may increase insurance costs because the technology is uncertain.

Breathalyzers

From 2022, all new cars will have to be fitted with the features and after May 2024 all existing models will have to be updated with breathalyzers. The Parliament of the European Union said that the changes will save thousands of lives while helping drivers avoid speeding fines. Vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians will also benefit. These rules will help reduce significantly the number of fatalities and severe injuries on EU roads according to Finland’s minister for employment. He also said that they would enhance the European car manufacturers’ competitiveness in the global market. Improved technology plays an important part in making roads safer but he warned drivers must not use devices as an excuse to slack off behind the wheel.

While breathalyzers installed in cars will undoubtedly make the roads safer, they are a large step in the direction of government control. Some see it as a slippery slope, asking what will come next. A large body like the European Union can require whole countries to do certain things, and this time it is the breathalyzer.

Speed limiting technology will inevitably be put into cars everywhere, breathalyzers will not be installed into cars around the world. Transitioning into using technology that helps keep the roads safe is the right thing to do, but as automation comes into play the driver will be less and less significant. For now breathalyzers will be used in the EU to make sure drivers don’t drink and drive.

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