The NTSB’s recommendations – which cannot be implemented without adoption by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – specifically include the requirement that all new vehicles be equipped with “passive alcohol impairment detection systems, advanced driver monitoring systems or a combination of the two which are capable of preventing or limiting the driving of the vehicle if it detects alcohol impairment of the driver.”
Reiterating a recommendation made in 2017, the NTSB also suggested NHTSA urge “vehicle manufacturers and consumers to adopt intelligent speed adaptation systems (ISAs) that would prevent speed-related crashes.”
Intelligent speed adaptation systems can range from a warning system that provides visual or audible alerts when a driver is speeding up to a system that electronically limits a vehicle’s speed. The NTSB did not specify what type of system should be adopted.
An investigation into a crash in California that killed nine people, including seven children, on New Year’s Day in 2021 led to Tuesday’s recommendations, according to the NTSB. Investigators, the agency said, “found that the driver of the SUV (involved in the crash) had a high level of alcohol intoxication and was traveling at excessive speed.”
NTSB Chair Jennifer Homendy said Tuesday that technologies “can prevent the tens of thousands of deaths from impaired driving and speeding-related crashes that we see in the United States each year.”
Thirty-two people die every day from alcohol-related crashes, or more than 11,000 every year, according to NHTSA. He reported that the number of deaths increased by 5% in 2021.
NHTSA said in a statement Monday that it “has begun work to meet bipartisan Infrastructure Act requirements for developing rules regarding advanced impaired driving technology in vehicles.”
These technologies include cameras and sensors outside a vehicle that monitor driving performance, cameras and sensors inside a vehicle that monitor a driver’s head and eyes, and sensors of alcohol to determine if a driver is intoxicated and subsequently prevent the vehicle from moving.
The vehicles will be retrofitted and installed in vehicles from various city departments, and will also be tested on 14 new all-electric Ford Mach Es.
This story has been updated with comments from NHTSA.