Feds, Automakers Collaborate on Smart Technology To Halt Drunk Driving


  • Drive Sober Picture

    Drive Sober Picture

    Federal safety regulators want to go beyond public-service campaigns when it comes to putting the brakes on drunk driving. | December 27, 2013

Just the Facts:
  • The federal government and 15 automakers announced a deal this week to continue researching advanced alcohol detection technology.
  • By early 2015, a research vehicle that uses touch-based and breath-based ways to measure blood-alcohol content will be ready for a pilot field trial.
  • "In this age of innovation, smart technology may be the breakthrough we need to prevent drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel and endangering the safety of others on our roads," said David Strickland, the National Highway Traffic Safety administrator, in a statement.

WASHINGTON — The federal government and 15 automakers announced a deal this week to continue researching advanced alcohol detection technology.

By early 2015, a research vehicle that uses touch-based and breath-based ways to measure blood-alcohol content will be ready for a pilot field trial.

One of the main goals of the partnership is to develop a so-called "Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety" or DADSS. Federal safety regulators describe this as a noninvasive system that could accurately and reliably detect when a driver is above the legal alcohol limit.

"The automatic system would be enabled every time the car is started, but unobtrusive so it would not pose an inconvenience to the non-intoxicated driver," said the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

NHTSA said research using "laboratory-scale prototype detection devices is already underway, while testing with on-road prototype devices is expected within the next few years.

"In this age of innovation, smart technology may be the breakthrough we need to prevent drunk drivers from getting behind the wheel and endangering the safety of others on our roads," said David Strickland, the NHTSA administrator, in a statement.

In 2012, deaths in crashes involving drunken drivers increased 4.6 percent to 10,322 deaths — the first increase in six years.

Edmunds says: Your future car or truck may have a built-in smart system that knows if you're sober enough to get behind the wheel.

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