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NTSB makes push for all new vehicles to have alcohol detecting technology

The measure would require all new vehicles to include technology that can detect if drivers have been drinking or are otherwise impaired.

HOUSTON — The National Transportation Safety Board wants all new vehicles to include drunk driving detectors. The board made a push for the new measure on Tuesday.

That’s promising news for Rhonda Campbell, whose sister was killed by a drunk driver.

“Thirty people a day in the USA are going to die because of impaired driving,” said Campbell. “The man who killed my sister was a four-time repeat offender.”

The measure would require all new vehicles to include technology that can detect if drivers have been drinking or are otherwise impaired.

Some technologies being explored include a system that measures the driver’s breath normally, not blowing into a breathalyzer. Measurements would be taken instantly and the car would shut off if it detected alcohol.

Another idea is touch technology that could use light to test for blood alcohol in a person’s finger.

Campbell hopes they act soon.

“Drunk driving is 100-percent preventable 100 percent of the time,” she said.

The board also wants new vehicles to have speed-related technology it says could prevent tens of thousands of fatalities.

The NTSB doesn’t have the authority to require the detectors but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does.

A new law requires the NHTSA to make automakers install alcohol monitoring systems in new vehicles within 3 years. They must “passively monitor” and not interfere if you’re driving sober, but it doesn’t specify what those devices would look like.  

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