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If you have read through the new infrastructure bill going through Congress (and chances are, you have not), you may have missed this.

The bill would require alcohol monitors for all new cars.

Buried in the massive proposal—which is already longer than 2,700 pages—is a section titled, "ADVANCED IMPAIRED DRIVING TECHNOLOGY," which mandates new vehicles include "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 company that manufactures the monitors is called Intoxalock. They along with a well-known organization lobbied for the inclusion of the breathalyzers in the bill before Congress.

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.

"We cannot wait any longer to establish a standard for impaired driving prevention technology that can be deployed on all new vehicles," Otte said in a statement. "This legislation will mark the beginning of the end of drunk driving."

MADD paid lobbying firm ML Strategies $40,000 in 2021 to influence Congress on regulations concerning the automotive industry.

I tell you; this just reeks of bad politics. Not that I condone drinking and driving, I do not. I just do not like lawmakers giving in to special interests. But then again, I guess that happens all the time in politics.

The other thing is the problems that could happen if you are forced to blow into a breathalyzer and wait 30 seconds for the results. What if you are in a dangerous situation such as being chased by a stalker, and you run to your car to get away from that individual? Waiting for your car to tell if you are sober could cost you precious time to escape a bad situation.

We would like to know your thoughts and opinion on the inclusion of breathalyzers in cars in the new infrastructure bill. Would you support having Intoxalock alcohol monitors in cars in San Angelo? Give us your thoughts and opinion on Facebook or on our station app.

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