NTSB recommends alcohol detection devices be mandatory for all new vehicles

Steps are being taken to stop drunk drivers in their tracks, the NTSB has sent a recommendation that all new cars come equipped with alcohol detection devices.

Carol Levin with Moms Against Drunk Driving, also known as MAAD, knows all too well the impact that one drunk driver can have. 


"This is my son Todd and the love of his life, they were both killed by a drunk driver, he literally drove through the car," Levin said while showing FOX 26 a photo of the couple. 

MAAD was behind a key provision to the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, that passed the House and Senate in November 2021. That provision requires a new and national safety standard for technology to be installed in new cars, the goal is to eliminate drunk driving once and for all.

"Let's do it now, too many people have been killed unnecessarily," Levin said. 


On Monday, the National Transportation Safety Board sent a recommendation to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, also known as NHTSA. That recommendation detailed what they think the new technology should entail, which includes systems that won't allow a car to start if the driver is over the limit. 

"A passive system that either can detect your blood alcohol level from touching a button, or maybe sampling the surrounding air," explained Robert Molloy, Director Office of Highway Safety for the NTSB.

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, Texas saw more than 24,000 DUI crashes and 871 deaths in 2018, with Harris County leading the state. The NHTSA says more than 32 people die every day in our nation as a result of drunk driving. 

"We've talked about designated drivers; we've talked about alternate ways of getting home, but the reality is we're still seeing 11,000 fatalities a year, so we need to do more," Molloy said. 


However, not everyone is happy about these potential changes; some Houston residents say it feels intrusive. 

"I kind of feel like there's some sort of personal freedoms taken away from us," said Mona Vaki. 

Another resident agreed, "I feel like that's invading of our privacy, a lot of us we don't drink, we don't drive, so why should we have to do that?" she asked. 

Levin says it doesn't matter whether people are for or against it, it's about saving lives. 

We could start seeing cars equipped with this alcohol detection technology rolling out as early as 2026. Officials are also looking at the need for technology that will combat speeding.