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Automatic car breathalyzers coming soon

Automatic car breathalyzers coming soon
image courtesy of shutterstock

Drinking and driving may a thing of the past once the newest type of smart car is released.

Major car manufactures like Nissan, Ford and Volkswagen are teaming up with the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to outfit vehicles with technology that senses if a driver has over gone over the legal alcohol consumption levels. If a driver is intoxicated, the car cannot start and the driver is forced to find another mode of transportation.

Despite a decline in drunk-driving incidents over the last 10 years, the NHTSA still reports over 10,000 deaths and $199 billion spent in alcohol-related damages a year. This revolutionary technology, called the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety, or DADSS, can cut down both of those statistics. DADSS technology is developing in two innovative ways, and if all goes as planned, cars will be paired with the system in five years or less.

The first way this technology is being used is close to the popular breathalyzer-type device. A small breathalyzer sensor will placed inconspicuously in the steering wheel. This sensor would detect alcohol like a common breathalyzer does, by measuring the amount of alcohol and carbon monoxide in a driver's breath.

Developers are also experimenting with putting multiple sensors in a vehicle to pick up on intoxicated passengers.

The second way the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety could be fitted to cars is through a touch sensor. Many smart cars today are already equipped with a "push-to-start" ignition button, so the idea is to turn the start button into a sensor that detects the blood-alcohol content of a driver.

The touchpad would send a painless infrared beam of light through the driver's skin when they press the ignition button. The beam of light would be reflected back to the surface carrying chemical details that are picked up by the touchpad sensor.

The average cost of a first offense, non-injury DUI is anywhere between $5,000 and $12,000. Not a cheap mistake! The DADSS program can prevent these costly incidents and has the capability to save millions of lives. Insurance companies are thrilled about the possibility of cars with these devices and can even require drivers to have them when the time comes.

So, do you think more harm or good will come from this technology? Let me know by leaving comments below.

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Source: The Guardian
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