The bipartisan infrastructure bill includes a provision that would require auto manufacturers to equip “advanced alcohol monitoring systems” in all new cars.
Buried in the massive proposal—which is already longer than 2,700 pages—is a section titled, “ADVANCED IMPAIRED DRIVING TECHNOLOGY,” which mandates new vehicles include “a system that … passively and accurately detect[s] whether the blood alcohol concentration of a driver of a motor vehicle is equal to or greater than the blood alcohol concentration” of .08, in which case the system would “prevent or limit motor vehicle operation.” Automobile manufacturers would have a three-year grace period to comply with the regulation.
The provision gives ammunition to Republican critics who say the scope of the bill expands far beyond bridges and tunnels. Sen. Josh Hawley (R., Mo.) said he would oppose the bill over its subsidies for green energy, while Sen. Mike Lee (R., Utah) questioned whether the federal government could efficiently allocate more than $1 trillion in spending. Meanwhile, a number of House Democrats say they oppose the deal for not doing enough. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) attacked her partymates in the Senate for compromising with Republicans.
“It certainly looks like this opens the door for mandatory breathalyzers in every new car. It’s crazy,” said one senior Republican aide, who requested anonymity to speak candidly due to ongoing negotiations in the Senate.