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NTSB recommends all new cars come with breath testing technology

In the aftermath of a California accident involving a drunk driver that killed multiple children, the National Transportation Safety Board recommended that all new cars come with built-in technology for detecting impaired drivers. While advocates believe this technology could reduce drunk driving fatalities, critics have concerns.

How could this technology affect Texas drivers?

Reason for the recommendation

The NTSB cited statistics that indicate impaired driving as the top cause of injuries in motor vehicle accidents. Over 230,000 people died because of a crash involving an impaired driver since the year 2000. In 2020, 11,654 people died in alcohol-related crashes, which is a 14% increase over the previous year.

Arguments against the requirement

Critics of the recommendation believe it violates Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures. Law enforcement officers must have reasonable cause to compel a driver to take a breath or blood test. Integrated devices would test a driver’s breath every time that driver got in the car.

Additionally, critics say the technology is not accurate enough and fails to test for other substances that can impair driving, such as marijuana or prescription drugs. They also believe that people will find ways to circumvent the technology.

Ignition interlock devices

Currently, some drivers who have a suspended license because of a DWI may request a license that allows them to drive if they install an IID in their vehicle. IIDs prevent drivers from starting or operating a motor vehicle if their blood alcohol levels exceed the legal limit. The state monitors and regulates these devices.

While requiring all vehicles to have the technology to detect impaired driving could reduce DWI incidents, multiple issues could make passing legislation difficult.

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