Every year drunk drivers claim more than 10,000 lives in the US.  New alcohol detection technology is looking to wipe out this danger by using breath sensors and touch points to become standard equipment in your own car.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Board unveiled prototypes from the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS).  Unlike court-ordered interlock systems in use in 25 states that require a convicted drunk driver to blow into the device before the car will start, the DADSS initial system is passive and would simply alert the driver to the danger.

Background:

  • 15 car manufacturers including Ford, GM and Chrysler collaborating with national highway traffic safety administration and group led by mothers against drunk driving.
  • five more years ahead for research until put in vehicles

Can Tech Put the Brakes on Drunk Driving?

The goal is to find a foolproof non-invasive method that can universally be adopted into cars to prevent drunk driving.

Test car in video with two prototype technologies to prevent alcohol:

  1. touch-based sensor use near-infrared tissue spectroscopy to see how much alcohol is in a person’s blood
  2. breath-based system could measure the amount of alcohol molecules in the driver’s breath

How it works:

If either the touch-based or breath-based system detects alcohol level higher than .08 the car will not move.

Opposition:

  • a restaurant trade association, the American Beverage Institute (ABI) wants to lower blood alcohol level to .05 from .08
  • ABI also says voluntary passive alcohol sensors like DADSS will do nothing to keep dangerous drivers off our roads.

 

Other devices on the market:

  • 25 states currently require alcohol ignition interlock devices for first-time drunk driving offenders