Following a deadly Tesla car crash in Texas last week, US Senators proposed legislation on Monday that would require all new cars in the country to include driver monitoring technology. Two of the law’s sponsors, Richard Blumenthal (D-Mass) and Ed Markey (D-Conn), recently sent a letter to federal regulators expressing concern.
Reports are not clear about how the 2019 Tesla Model S crashed at high speed while in a residential area of Houston. The police report summarized that neither of the passengers in the vehicle were in the driver’s seat. One of them occupies the front passenger seat while another sits in the back.
Consists of driving monitoring system
The case has drawn more attention to the age-old debate about the integration of automated car driver monitoring systems. Several automakers have taken the lead. Cadillac’s Super Cruise model used a driver-facing camera to verify if the driver was keeping an eye on the road. While drivers can take their hands off the steering wheel, it activates when they’re not looking at the road and issues warnings before finally leaving the wheel.
However, the cars made by Tesla have a much more basic driver-interaction management system. It uses a torque sensor on the steering wheel that the driver can easily bypass by attaching a weight. In addition, the sensor does not guarantee that the driver is observing the road.
Cars will have mandatory driver monitoring by 2027
Many safety advocates argue that the Advanced Driver Assistance System could be at risk without the law. In the past 5 years, a total of 4 deaths were attributed to autonomous driving assistance.
According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an estimated 3,000 people die every year.
The Markey/Blumenthal bill, also co-sponsored by Senator Amy Klobuchar, would require the drafting of rules requiring all vehicles to have driver monitoring systems.
If approved, every new car will have to adapt a version with the technology within the next six years. A hearing has been scheduled for the bill by the House Transportation, Science and Commerce Committee.
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