Guardian angel car stops drunk drivers

Posted by Lydia Leavitt

This vehicular prototype device is not only your whip, but also your guardian angel. The technology we’re talking about is a cool detection system that uses an automatic sensor to gauge a driver’s alcohol level before starting. If your alcohol level is too high, the car simply will not drive.

According to the Center for Disease Control, 32 people die in alcohol-related accidents every day, making an "alcohol-detecting" car extremely appealing to the U.S. Transportation department.

In a visit with QinetiQ North America, the creators of the technology, U.S Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood showed public interest in such technology. The measure called the Driver Alcohol Detection Systems (or…DADS?) will measure the driver’s blood alcohol level, and if it’s above .08 the smart car won’t start.

Although similiar technology already exists, the current judge-ordered bulky tech requires the driver blow into a large tube before starting a vehicle.

This particular version of the technology is designed to be super sensitive and therefore less obtrusive, making it more appealing for major car manufacturers.

The device will analyze the blood alcohol content by analyzing the driver’s breath or skin using touch-based sensors placed on the steering wheel and door locks.

David Strickland, head of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, estimated such technology could prevent as many as 9,000 fatal alcohol-related crashes a year in the U.S.

So far the program has received $10 million in research money from the NHTSA and the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety.

But some critics argue that the system could never be 100% accurate. Sarah Longwell of the American Beverage Institute said, "Even if the technology is 99.9 percent reliable, that's still tens of thousands of cars that won't start every day.

"It's going to eliminate the ability of people to have a glass of wine with dinner or a beer at a ball game and then drive home, something that is perfectly safe and currently legal in all 50 states."

On the other hand, Laura Dean Mooney, president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said the system could "turn cars into the cure."

Sadly, the anti-drunk driving tech won't available for at least 8-10 years.

(Via Associated Press)