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Biden's new infrastructure bill to require technology to deter drunk drivers

Posted at 5:49 PM, Nov 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-16 18:49:58-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — It was on the corner of Staples Street and Yorktown Boulevard four years ago that Kory Saldana lost his wife when she was struck in her car by a drunk driver.

“She liked to include everybody. She never left anybody out. She always did her best to make sure everybody felt appreciated,” Kory Saldana described his wife Amanda Saldana.

Saldana is now left to care for his son Ezra, who suffered traumatic brain injuries in the crash and was left in a coma before waking up.

“It’s been very hard. It’s completely life changing to majorly just watch your son grow up without his mom,” Saldana said.

After the incident, Saldana bought a large SUV with a back-up camera, which he said would help keep him and his son safe.

On Monday, President Biden signed a law requiring car manufacturers to add technology to cars that would prevent drunk drivers from operating a vehicle. The law does not state what specifically will have to be added to the car, but the law requires the changes to be implemented by 2026.

Saldana said the law is similar to the one passed in 2018, requiring back-up cameras in new cars. He said Biden’s new law is a good way to keep people on the road safe from drunk drivers.

“Any step in the right direction as far as safety for the community, safety for consumers, is always a great deal,” Saldana said.

According to a study by the Patterson Law Group in 2018, Nueces County ranked as one of the counties with the highest DUIs in Texas. In 2018, 33 DUI accidents occurred in Nueces County, and out of those, 19 resulted in injuries.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or MADD, national president Alex Otte said the new technology law won’t be like the ignition interlock where people need to blow in order for the car to start as it reads their blood alcohol level.

“A condition for the technology to be considered for this mandate is that it’s entirely passive, so the drunk or otherwise impaired driver will get in their car and it either won’t start, won’t move, or will pull itself over once it detects impairment. The sober driver will get in their car and never even know it’s there,” Otte said.