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Drunk driving detection technology will be required in new cars by 2026, here's what it could look like

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Four years from now all new cars will have to be equipped with drunk driving detection technology as part of President Biden's infrastructure bill. Action News Now went to a local dealership to know what that kind of tech could look like.

BUTTE COUNTY, Calif. - Four years from now all new cars will have to have drunk driving detection technology, it’s part of President Biden’s infrastructure bill.

Cars made in 2026 and beyond will look a little different than now.

All built then will come with new tech, tech that can tell when someone is driving drunk.

Drunk driving detection tech will soon come to new cars by 2026

But what will that look like?

“The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration hasn’t really come out with what the ruling of what they’re going to require yet,” said Ryan Sutton, the executive general manager for Chico Nissan Hyundai.

Sutton said he has an idea of what to expect.

“Maybe a breathalyzer finger print type of technology where you blow into your key fob,” Sutton said.

Sutton also brought up the idea of breathalyzers also being inside a vehicle, similar to a CA law that took effect in 2019.

That law requires people convicted of drunk driving to blow into a breathalyzer before the car starts.

Automaker Volvo is one company that has already been working on this kind of tech for some years now. Most of that tech using advanced cameras.

In a demo video by Volvo, the narrator points out that its cameras register that the driver has taken their eyes off the road for enough time to create a risk. The car then would engage the safety support systems and issue a reminder to drive with care.

And one person who knows who all too well about the consequences of driving under the influence is the mother of Kristina Chesterman. She says this tech will go a long way in preventing people driving drunk.

“If this just keeps one person from getting behind the wheel, it’s a success right?” said Sandra Chesterman.

Chesterman’s daughter was on her way to class at Chico State when a drunk driver killed her. Sandra says this new tech is a step but more needs to be done.

“We can change our laws, make them stricter in some countries you get caught drunk driving, you go to jail for a year,” Chesterman explained. “We can increase access to sober rides.”

She doesn’t want other families to go through what she did.

“She lived everyday her best life. It’s almost like she knew her life was going to be cut short,” Chesterman said.

Although there’s a lot of people in support of this new technology, many people in the auto industry are not on board with this mandate. Many of them point out that the tech could backfire and not work. 

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