Volvo will add in-car cameras and sensors to prevent drunk driving

Volvo, a company absolutely determined to eliminate traffic fatalities, plans to use driver monitoring technology to prevent people from driving while impaired or distracted, even if that means bringing the car to a stop and shutting it down.

The Swedish automaker calls speeding, distracted driving, and driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs the three primary causes of traffic fatalities. The company that introduced the three-point safety belt in 1959 has been slowly addressing each of those problems. Earlier this month, it announced that every model will be speed limited to 112 mph beginning in 2021.

To address distracted and drunk driving, Volvo plans to use in-car cameras, autonomous technology, and a slew of sensors to keep tabs on the driver and intervene when necessary. Closing your eyes for too long, being slow to react, swerving or weaving, or going too long without any input on the steering wheel are some of the things that could cause the car to intervene.

Should the car’s software decide you’re impaired or distracted, it will take a series of increasingly intrusive steps, beginning with a warning signal. Ignore that, and the car will limit its speed. If that doesn’t work, the car’s On Call assistance service will call you to make sure all is OK. If all else fails, the car’s driver assist and autonomous systems will safely bring the car to a stop.

Volvo will begin offering the hardware needed to do this as standard equipment with models based on the next generation of Volvo’s SPA2 platform, slated to arrive within the next several years.

Volvo realizes drivers may find this technology intrusive, or an invasion of their privacy.

“The company 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,” the automaker said in a press release. Volvo clearly believes it has that right, and has no problem letting technology ride shotgun if it means making the roads a little safer.

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