Drunk driver sen­sor

‘Still a lot of work to be done’ on touch-free breathal­yser

The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

AMER­ICA’S Na­tional High­way Traf­fic Safety Ad­min­is­tra­tion has shown mem­bers of Congress the latest ad­vances it has made in the quest for anti-drunk driv­ing tech­nol­ogy in the car.

Work­ing in part­ner­ship with an in­dus­try con­sor­tium, the NHTSA un­veiled a test car de­signed to help it fine-tune driver in­ter­ac­tions with po­ten­tially life­sav­ing anti-drunk driv­ing in­no­va­tions.

In its ef­forts to cut down on the roughly 10 000 peo­ple killed in Amer­i­can al­co­hol-re­lated ac­ci­dents an­nu­ally, the con­sor­tium’s catchily-named Driver Al­co­hol De­tec­tion Sys­tem for Safety (DADSS) pro­gramme has been fine-tun­ing sys­tems de­signed to pre­vent a car from mov­ing off if the driver is over the 0,08 BAC limit that ap­plies in most U.S. states.

The DADSS sys­tem takes ad­van­tage of a touch-free breathal­yser, which can de­tect al­co­hol while driv­ers breathe nor­mally.

The breath sen­sor could be mounted on the steer­ing col­umn or the driver’s door, and uses an in­frared sen­sor to mea­sure the num­ber of al­co­hol mol­e­cules in a driver’s breath.

The sys­tem also uses a touch­based sen­sor to mea­sure al­co­hol un­der the skin’s sur­face, pro­vid­ing another line of de­fence against drunken driv­ers hit­ting the road. While the sys­tem might be in its early stages at the mo­ment, a study con­ducted by the In­sur­ance In­sti­tute for High­way Safety es­ti­mates that it could save 7 000 lives ev­ery year by pre­vent­ing driv­ers over the le­gal limit from get­ting onto the roads.

The NHTSA ad­min­is­tra­tor Mark Rosekind welcome the de­vel­op­ment but said there is still a great deal of work to do on the sys­tem.

“DADSS has enor­mous po­ten­tial to pre­vent drunk driv­ing in spe­cific pop­u­la­tions such as teen driv­ers and com­mer­cial fleets, and mak­ing it an op­tion avail­able to ve­hi­cle own­ers would pro­vide a pow­er­ful new tool in the bat­tle against drunk driv­ing deaths,” Rosekind said.

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