NTSB wants automakers to equip all new vehicles with alcohol-detection technology

ORLANDO, Fla. — A new debate is brewing in the world of auto safety.

Officials with the National Transportation Safety Board are recommending all auto manufacturers equip new cars with alcohol-detection technology.

Similar to a breathalyzer, the devices would in theory prevent drunk drivers from ever getting on the road.


Ahmed Banafa, an engineering professor at San Jose State University, said the technology would be just one component of overall automotive safety.

“I look at this technology as part of this progression we see in the car technology: electrical vehicles and self-driving cars. Now we’re talking about safety,” Banafa said.

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Since 2019, traffic fatalities attributed to drunk driving have increased by 14%.

In Florida, state data shows 371 people died in crashes involving drivers under the influence, an increase of nearly 24% from 2018.

Stephanie Manning with Mothers Against Drunk Driving said if the technology to save lives is available, then we should use it.

“We have the technology to prevent that crash and other crashes that happen day in and day out,” Manning said

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Volvo is already working on an alcohol-detection system that includes in-car cameras as well as sensors that can monitor the driver for intoxication.

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While the NTSB does not have the authority to require manufacturers to install the new technology, it can offer guidance to automakers and other government agencies to make changes.

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Matt Reeser

Matt Reeser, WFTV.com

Matt Reeser joined WFTV in 1998 as a news photographer and has worked for television stations in Kentucky and West Virginia.