NTSB Calls For Alcohol Detection Systems In All New Vehicles

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — There soon could come a day when all new cars, trucks, vans and sports utility vehicles will be equipped with alcohol detection systems.  The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended that all new vehicles be equipped with new technology that can prevent impaired drivers from operating a vehicle.

The NTSB made its recommendation following the investigation into a News Years Day 2021 crash in Avenal, California that killed nine people.  The NTSB found that an impaired driver who was speeding caused that crash.

“Technology could’ve prevented this heartbreaking crash — just as it can prevent the tens of thousands of fatalities from impaired-driving and speeding-related crashes we see in the U.S. annually,” said NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy. “We need to implement the technologies we have right here, right now to save lives.”​

As a result of the investigation, the NTSB is recommended measures leveraging new in-vehicle technologies that can limit or prohibit impaired drivers from operating their vehicles as well as technologies to prevent speeding. These include:

  • Requiring passive vehicle-integrated alcohol impairment detection systems, advanced driver monitoring systems or a combination of the two that would be capable of preventing or limiting vehicle operation if it detects driver impairment by alcohol. The NTSB recommends that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration require all new vehicles to be equipped with such systems.
  • ​Incentivizing vehicle manufacturers and consumers to adopt intelligent speed adaptation systems that would prevent speed-related crashes. This is a reiteration of a previous NTSB recommendation to NHTSA.

The NTSB report was issued on Tuesday, September 20, 2022.  The full report on the Avenal, California. crash is available on the NTSB’s website.