Largest spike of impaired driving since 2006

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CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – December is National Impaired Driving Awareness Month, 22News explains what steps advocates are taking to prevent impaired driving.

Impaired driving specifically accounts for nearly 30 percent of crash deaths in the U.S. More than 20,000 people died in crashed this year during just the first six months of 2021, that’s the most since 2006 according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

That makes a 20-percent rise in fatal crashes over 2020, the largest spike ever. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says the total costs of drunk driving are more than $200-billion annually.

The advocates for Highway and Auto Safety Organization, are lobbying for safety features in cars that could lower the number of drunk driving accidents annually.

“One of the ways the impaired driving technology could work is it would work with these systems that are already in vehicle to monitor how the driver is driving.” Tara Gill, Senior Director for advocacy & state legislation at advocates for Highway and Auto Safety

Vehicle safety features that could monitor for impaired driving include: automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and lane keeping assist. If these systems are being used too often, the car would sense impaired driving. Advocates wants this technology in all new passenger motor vehicles.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has estimated that impaired driving prevention technology could save upwards of 9,000 lives each year.

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