The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has issued a recommendation that all new vehicles in the United States be equipped with blood alcohol monitoring systems in order to prevent a drunk person from getting behind the wheel.
The NTSB has said that this recommendation has a strong likelihood of reducing the number of alcohol-related crashes, one of the biggest causes of highway deaths in the US.
The National Highway Transport Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 32 people die everyday from alcohol-related crashes. This is one person every 45 minutes.
The NTSB does not have any regulatory authority, putting them in a position where they can only request that other agencies act. The recommendation has been designed to turn up on the NHTSA to make move.
“We need NHTSA to act. We see the numbers,” NTSB Chairman Jennifer Homendy said. “We need to make sure that we’re doing all we can to save lives.”
Homendy said that she and the NTSB have been pushing NHTSA to explore alcohol monitoring technology since 2012. “The faster the technology is implemented the more lives that will be saved,” she said.
The recommendation has also requested systems to monitor a driver’s behavior, to ensure that they’re alert. Homendy said that there are now many cars now with cameras pointed at the driver, which have the potential to limit impaired driving.
Homendy says she is taking a pragmatic approach and understands that mastering the alcohol tests will take time. “We also know that it’s going to take time for NHTSA to evaluate what technologies are available and how to develop a standard.”
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