Latest Breathalyzer Tech Goes for a Test Drive in Virginia

Sep 10, 2018

State officials announced a new partnership Monday, aimed at getting breathalyzer technology ready for wider commercial use in vehicles around the Commonwealth.


A car equipped with the latest in breathalyzer technology revved to life as Governor Ralph Northam sat in the driver’s seat.

Credit Mallory Noe-Payne

No need to blow into a tube. This tool measures alcohol content just by breathing and talking naturally in front of it. If it tests positive the car won’t drive. While developers hope it can become a common safety feature, it’s not quite ready for commercial use.

So the state is partnering with a local taxi service to get the devices on the road and collect still-needed data. The Governor announced the first-of-its-kind partnership Monday.

“The work that the Virginia DMV and local business are doing to evaluate this life saving technology will ultimately allow families to get home safely, or more confidently hand over the keys to a teenage driver,” said Northam.  

According to the DMV, almost a third of traffic fatalities in Virginia last year were caused by a drunk driver.   


This report, provided by Virginia Public Radio, was made possible with support from the Virginia Education Association.