July .13 .2015

Could New Technology Eliminate Drunk Driving?

Does a world free of intoxicated drivers sound too good to be true? Vehicle blood alcohol sensors could make it a reality according to TIME Magazine.

The technology was recently unveiled in the US by the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADDS), which advocates technological solutions to drunk driving. This work is a partnership between auto manufacturers, regulators, and safety advocates.

How does this technology function? DADSS detects alcohol levels using two key mechanisms. The first is a breath-based system, much like a Breathalyzer, pulling in exhaled air from the driver. The other method involves a touch sensor using near-infrared tissue spectroscopy to determine the driver’s blood-alcohol content.

This new technology promises to determine a driver’s sobriety in “less than a second,” according to a video released by the organization.

If the sensors detect a blood alcohol level above .08, the nationwide legal limit in the US, “the vehicle won’t move.” If a driver is under the legal drinking age, there would be a “zero tolerance” system. If any trace of alcohol is detected on the breath or under the skin, the vehicle would be immobilized.

DADSS has enormous potential to prevent drunk driving, but is still several years away from being implemented in real cars, and would likely not be a required feature. An average of 13 people are killed every summer in British Columbia due to impaired driving according to ICBC.

One can hope that with a successful initial launch, DADSS will eventually become commonplace and provide a powerful new tool in the battle against drunk driving deaths.

For more information:

  • Feds Unveil Technology to create ‘World Without Drunk Driving’, TIME Magazine
  • Summer road check program starting July 1, Energetic City

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