Drunk and disorderly drivers beware because Volvo has you in its sights.

close on the heels of a plan to limit the top speed of its vehicles, the company has now turned its attention to intoxicated and distracted drivers.

Apart from speeding, Volvo says these are two other main areas of concern that stand in the way of its vision for a future with zero traffic fatalities.

Figures from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, for example, show that in the United States, almost 30 per cent of all traffic fatalities involved intoxicated drivers in 2017.

Volvo Cars believes intoxication and distraction should be addressed by installing in-car cameras and other sensors that monitor the driver.

If a clearly intoxicated or distracted driver does not respond to warnings, its cars will be designed to take control away from the drivers up to and including parking and switching the car off.

“When it comes to safety, our aim is to avoid accidents altogether rather than limit the impact when an accident is imminent and unavoidable,” Senior Vice President, Research & Development, Henrik Green, said.

“In this case, cameras will monitor for behaviour that may lead to serious injury or death.”

Examples of such behaviour include a complete lack of steering input for extended periods of time, drivers who are detected to have their eyes closed or off the road for extended periods of time, as well as extreme weaving across lanes or excessively slow reaction times.

A driver monitoring system as described above is an important element of allowing the car to actively make decisions in order to help avoid accidents that could result in severe injuries or death.

“There are many accidents that occur as a result of intoxicated drivers,” Professor of Driver Behaviour, Trent Victor, said.

“Some people still believe that they can drive after having had a drink, and that this will not affect their capabilities. We want to ensure that people are not put in danger as a result of intoxication.”

Introduction of cameras on all Volvo models will start from the next generation of Volvo’s scalable SPA2 platform in the early 2020s.

Details on the exact amount of cameras and their positioning in the interior will follow at a later stage.

Volvo says it wants to start a conversation about whether car makers have the right or maybe even the obligation to install technology in cars that changes their drivers’ behaviour.

What do you think?

Maybe people who drink and drive will stop buying Volvos?

intoxicated drunk - Volvo monitors intoxication 1 - Drunk and disorderly? Volvo is watching!

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Drunk and disorderly? Volvo is watching!

Riley

Chris Riley has been a journalist for almost 40 years. He has spent half of his career as a writer, editor and production editor in newspapers, the rest of the time driving and writing about cars both in print and online. His love affair with cars began as a teenager with the purchase of an old VW Beetle, followed by another Beetle and a string of other cars on which he has wasted too much time and money. A self-confessed geek, he’s not afraid to ask the hard questions - at the risk of sounding silly.

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