Technology is changing the automotive industry in ways no one thought possible. From electric cars to automated vehicles, transportation is being transformed. While fully automated roads—where no one drives manually—are a ways off, the future is closer than you think. One form that cars are progressing is the use of driver monitoring systems (DMS). What is this technology? How will it keep the roads safer?
What is DMS?
Driver monitoring technology is a system that can tell when a driver isn’t paying attention, driving under the influence, or falling asleep. When the monitoring technology indicates that one of these is the case, it alerts the driver that they are inattentive. The goal is to decrease the number of accidents and deaths that result from them. In the United States, 35,000 people die from car accidents every year. In Europe, there are about 35,000 car accidents every year and 40 percent of them are due to driver’s inattention according to the personal injury solicitors McGinley & Co. Europe and the United States are taking steps to mitigate accidents and other countries like China are developing their car cultures with this technology in mind.
New Laws in the United States
There are two new laws that were introduced in the United States this year. First is the Moving Forward Act, which was passed in the House of Representatives. While it will need to be passed by the Senate and signed by the President, this law is a $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill that was written with hopes to make the roads safer. One way the law is taking measures to decrease accidents is by using driver monitoring systems to indicate when a driver isn’t paying attention, drunk, or drowsy. It will mandate the installation of this technology.
The second law is the Stay Aware For Everyone legislation, otherwise known as the SAFE Act. While it is only a part of a broader surface transportation legislation package, the SAFE Act is designed to give the Department of Transportation the authority to conduct research into how DMS technology could be used to mitigate distractions as well as decrease injuries and deaths. If this law is passed, it will take four to six years for driver monitors to be mandated in new cars.
European Union Mandates
While the US has introduced new legislation, the European Union is ahead of the curve. In 2019 the EU Council of Ministers passed a regulation mandating that carmakers install advanced safety measures like DMS technologies. This mandate requires cars have camera-monitoring to detect when a driver is drowsy or failing to pay attention. When the driver is distracted, the system will issue a warning that alerts them they need to drive more diligently.
These new regulations will be implemented gradually over four years. Beginning in 2022 with new type-approved cars that have a certain level of autonomous driving. The law includes that newly made vehicles in the EU market have DMS regardless of their automation abilities. The EU is trying to prevent 140,000 serious injuries by 2038.
China and Other Developing Car Cultures
China is a case study because it is a rapidly evolving car culture. With the emerging middle class, more and more people are buying cars in China. Since a car culture is a relatively new phenomenon in the country, they are replacing scooters and bicycles. Since not everyone in China has a car, it is easier for the government to roll out this new safety measures. China is aiming mandate DMS technology in the next few years. The first province mandated the technology and 2018. While China is late to cars, they are a terrific example for how this technology can be included in the development car cultures.
China is not known for their human rights, however. The country isn’t opposed to regulating its citizens. Many people are arguing that these mandates are an overreach of governments around the world. Since China is a case study for emerging car cultures, it is also a way to determine if this technology will be used to not just regulate cars but to regulate people. Still deaths on the roads should be dealt with, and DMS technology can help decrease the number of them. Will they be as successful as governments hope? We’ll have to wait to find out.