Most people accept that getting behind the wheel drunk is risky business, but there hasn’t been a way of putting a stopper on drunk driving completely. Until now, that is.
The United States’ National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has developed a new technology that will put an end to driving under the influence for good.
Instead of warning about the dangers of drunk driving, the NHTSA decided it makes much more sense to simply prevent it from happening in the first place.
To that end, it developed an in-car system that stops vehicles from starting when the driver is inebriated, as reported by Autoblog.
It’s called the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety, or DADSS for short. DADSS can tell when a driver isn’t fit for the road, and blocks out the ignition.
But how can a car know when its owner’s had one too many? First, there’s a steering wheel-mounted breathalyser that detects blood-alcohol concentration (BAC).
You don’t even need to lean in; DADSS can sense BAC at a distance, meaning it’s tricky to avoid alerting the system unless you opt not to breathe for the entire journey.
The team behind DADSS is also considering using multiple breath sensors, to ensure the breath sample is from the driver and not other passengers.
There’s also an infrared light built into the ignition button, which can determine your BAC through your finger. Too high? Better buy a bus ticket, buddy.
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“DADSS has enormous potential to prevent drunk driving in specific populations such as teen drivers and commercial fleets, and making it an option to vehicle owners would provide a powerful new tool in the battle against drunk driving deaths,” said Mark Rosekind, NHTSA Administrator.
The NHTSA says it doesn’t plan to force manufacturers to include the technology, but that it hopes it will be available to order on vehicles within the next five years.
The system is not without opposition, however. The American Beverage Institute is lobbying against DADSS.
It argues that people process alcohol at different rates, which could mean someone who’s had just one glass of wine may still be prevented from driving.
Check out the video of DADSS below: