Feds Test Alcohol Detection Device to Prevent DUI Accidents

Saturday, February 05, 2011

California drunk driving accident lawyers may soon see the day when sensors in a car automatically detect a driver’s blood alcohol level, and prevent him from driving if his alcohol levels are too high. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood recently attended a demonstration of an alcohol detection device prototype that can automatically detect blood alcohol levels of the person attempting to drive the car. If the person has an alcohol level that is .08 or above, the vehicle will not start, preventing the motorist from driving.

The demonstration was held at QinetiQ North America, a Massachusetts-based research and development facility. During the demonstration, a young woman consumed two one and a half ounce glasses of vodka and orange juice. In order to make the woman's alcohol consumption as close to a social setting as possible, the woman, who was in her 20s and weighed about 120 pounds, ate some cheese and crackers too.  She then used touch and breath sensor prototypes, which showed her blood alcohol level was at .06 and she was able to start the car.

Transportation Sec. LaHood believes that vehicles equipped with such alcohol detection sensors are the next frontier in automotive safety. However, federal officials also insist that any such systems are purely voluntary, and will not be mandated in all vehicles. Any such device will only be commercially available after a period of at least eight years.

Where these alcohol detection devices score over traditional breathalyzers is that these devices are quite unobtrusive. Unlike with traditional ignition interlock devices that have been available for many years now, motorists are not required to blow into a breathalyzer device to detect intoxication levels. Because of this, motorists may be more accepting of such devices than they are of ignition interlock systems. It is reasonable to assume that if these devices are found to be successful and reliable, insurance companies may offer low premiums to motorists who get these devices installed in their vehicles.



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