December 17, 2005

Moving to Functional Impairment Tests

Clayton Cramer picks up an interesting meme. The idea is to move from testing blood alcohol levels to testing actual driving performance. Much good analysis ensues but he misses a trick. These tests will really come into their own when drive-by-wire cars are the norm and cheap HUDs come standard. This is because you can pull over and test yourself, in your own car. Long haul truckers will likely have mandatory impairment testing periodically and black boxes not under their control sending the reports back to either their employers, their insurance company, or the relevant state authorities.

Drive-by-wire cars are likely to come into their own when the internal combustion engine goes goodbye, being superseded by an alternate engine. If the hydrogen fuel cell enthusiasts are right, that'll start to come about at the end of the decade. HUD displays for cars are just starting to come out now in high end cars so that's likely to filter down into the main fleet over the next 5-10 years as well.

The federal government could take a proactive stand by allowing states to move to a performance based system instead of a BAC level system and still qualify for highway funds. That legislation will then put the idea on the agenda of all 50 state legislatures.

I really can't see anybody protesting against this. Do you claim that you can drink and drive and the current standard is unfair? Prove it by passing a functional test and may your liver have mercy on you.

Posted by TMLutas at December 17, 2005 08:26 PM