The National Transportation Safety Board recommended Tuesday that all new vehicles be equipped with speed limiters and alcohol impairment systems in order to prevent crashes. This guidance comes in response to an investigation of a California accident that could have been avoided if there was more technology.
The crash involved seven children and two adults. It occurred on January 1, 2021. NTSB determined that the collision occurred because of an intoxicated driver driving over the speed limit.
The impaired driver was driving a sport utility vehicle southbound on California’s State Route 33. A pickup truck was also traveling north on the same road. The SUV was traveling between 88-98 mph when it struck the pickup truck.
The truck caught on fire as a result. The eight occupants of both vehicles were all killed.
NTSB claimed that the collision occurred due to loss of vehicle control as a result of alcohol impairment and excessive speed. According to the NTSB, because the SUV was moving at a high speed, it didn’t have enough time for evasive action.
Jennifer Homendy, Chair of the NTSB, stated that technology could have prevented this tragic accident. To save lives, we must use the technology that is available right now.
NTSB’s collision investigation led to the recommendation that all new vehicles be fitted with systems that prevent speeding and stop intoxicated drivers from operating the vehicle.
The NTSB stated that in-vehicle alcohol detection technology is needed to detect alcohol in the vehicle. It also recommends the reduction of blood alcohol concentration to.05 g/dL. Alcohol ignition-interlock devices are recommended for those convicted of driving while impaired.
The group also recommended “a comprehensive strategy for eliminating speeding-related accidents that combine traditional enforcement and regulation with technological advances such as speed limiters or intelligent speed adaptation technology.”
According to the NTSB, impaired drivers continue to be the main cause of fatalities in highway accidents that result in injury. Intoxicated drivers were responsible for 30% of all car accident fatalities in 2020. This is 14% more than the previous year.
“We have to remember that technology is only part of the solution. To save lives on our roads, we need to look more broadly at the entire transportation system, which includes everything that can prevent a crash,” said Homendy.