New Technology Could Spell The End For Drunken Driving

A new system called the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety, if implemented, could prevent a cause of death for almost 10.000 Americans every year.

The technology for preventing drunken driving works off of on sensors that analyse alcohol levels in the car’s air. If a scan detects too high levels, the car will not start.

The Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) is the product of joint research from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety, an industry consortium formed to develop safety technology.

U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said:

“This is a perfect example of why we at DOT are bullish on technology. Education, awareness and enforcement have succeeded in dramatically reducing drunk driving fatalities, but the advanced technology of DADSS brings enormous potential to save even more lives.”

The system features a steering-wheel mounted breathalyzer capable of detecting drivers’ blood-alcohol concentration levels of over 0.08. Start buttons or ignitions have an infrared sensor installed additionally, which scans the driver’s finger to determines a their blood-alcohol concentration level.

The finger scanner prototype was supplied by Takata-TruTouch, a partnership between TruTouch, experts in alcohol sensing using near-infrared spectroscopy, and Takata, the Tier One Automotive supplier behind the recent air bag safety issue.

Also at the announcement event was Colleen Sheehey-Church, Mothers Against Drunk Driving National President, who noted:

“For 35 years, MADD has worked to stop the horrible crime of drunk driving. This technology represents the future, when one day drunk driving will be relegated to the history books. While we still have a lot of work to do, we are closer than ever to eliminating drunk driving.”

Next up in the ongoing research, the prototypes are planned to be integrated into vehicles for a series of field tests. Tests will allow engineers to study driver behavior in everyday use and comprehensively test the systems in real-world scenarios.

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Photo: JOHN LLOYD/flickr