New cars could be forced to have built-in alcohol sensors to stop drunk drivers

All new vehicles could include high-tech alcohol detection sensors to prevent drunk drivers from pulling out onto the road.

According to CarScoops, the US government is working on legislation that would force automakers to put breathalyser tech into car steering wheels. This would reportedly make cars 'undrivable' if a blood alcohol level above the legal limit is detected.

Car companies including Ford, BMW, Toyota, Mazda, Mercedes, Volkswagen, Honda, GM and Chrysler, have founded a partnership called the 'Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety'.

This partnership is working on a number of solutions to check if drivers have been drinking, including touch sensors and breathalysers. These systems would disable vehicles entirely if an illegal amount of blood alcohol is detected.

The idea is that, rather than requiring police to pull over a driver and check their blood alcohol, cars would be able to detect it themselves.

The technology could be required in every new car from as early as 2026, and will “passively monitor the performance of a driver of a motor vehicle to accurately identify whether that driver may be impaired.”

While the tech would undoubtedly have an impact on the number of drunk drivers on the road, who are responsible for around 30% of all traffic fatalities, some have called the plans intrusive and unworkable.

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If the tech went wrong, for example, it could disable the vehicles of people who hadn't had a drop to drink.

Car companies such as Nissan have already developed concept vehicles which includ facial monitoring systems, alcohol odor systems, and driving behaviour monitors.

In the UK, an average of 666 people are killed every year in drink driving related accidents. In the US, meanwhile, an estimated 28 people die per day in drunk driving crashes.

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