What Biden’s $1.2 Trillion Dollar Infrastructure Bill mean for U.S. Drivers and U.S. Carmakers


Edwin Reyes, Rookie Reporter/Editor

Congress recently passed Biden’s $1.2 trillion dollar infrastructure bill, then sent it to President Biden for his signature on Nov. 15. Which roughly includes “$550 billion in new funding for transportation, utilities, and broadband. It also invests $110 billion into roads, bridges, and other major projects, directs $66 billion toward passenger and freight rail, and $39 billion into public transit” according to CNBC. However, that is not all that is included in this bill; there is, in fact, an official mandate authorized by Congress to require automakers to “implement technology in new cars that can detect and stop drunk drivers.”

Why did Congress consider this mandate?

The 2,702-page bill cites the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety: “Technology that can detect a drunk driver could prevent more than 9,400 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities per year.” According to the CDC, alcohol-impaired driving fatalities account for roughly 28% of all traffic-related deaths in the United States. In the first half of 2021 alone around “20,160 people had died in car crashes – the highest number of fatalities in the first half of a year since 2006,” the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said.

How will Congress implement this new requirement?

The Department of Transportation will determine what is the best way to prevent intoxicated drunk driving. “Specifically, something that will “passively monitor the performance of a driver of a motor vehicle to accurately identify whether that driver may be impaired,” according to the legislation, including “prevent or limit motor vehicle operation if an impairment is detected.” These technologies are expected to reach new vehicles by 2026.

What else is in this mandate?

The bill will also require automakers to install “rear-seat reminders to alert parents if a child is left inadvertently in the back seat.” These technologies are expected to reach new vehicles by 2025. Why? Since 1990, “about 1,000 children have died from vehicular heatstroke after the highest total in a single year was 54 in 2018” according to Kidsandcars.org. Another requirement would be to update “decades-old safety standards to avert deaths from collapsing front seatbacks and issue a rule requiring automatic emergency braking and lane departure warnings in all passenger vehicles.” However, When these technologies will be implemented is unclear.