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This Device Could Finally Bring an End to Drunk Driving

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Can technology truly eradicate drunk driving? American car companies have been working hard to answer this question, and they may have finally reached a conclusion. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recently released a prototype for an innovative piece of technology that prevents cars from operating under a driver whose BAC is over 0.08. This new program, called the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS), can determine a driver’s BAC in under a second, and will shut off if the driver is over the legal limit. In some cases, it can even be programmed to shut the car down if a driver under the age of 21 has any amount of alcohol in their bloodstream.

The prototype includes two noninvasive methods of determining a driver’s BAC: a breath-based sensor and a touch-based sensor. The breath-based sensor is located in the steering column or in the driver’s side door, and it uses a beam of light to analyze the contents of the driver’s breath. Carbon dioxide and alcohol molecules absorb different amounts of light, so the system is able to identify the level of alcohol in a driver’s breath. The touch-based sensor would be placed in the ignition button or in the gear shift. Again, by using a beam of light, the sensor can analyze the alcohol content in the blood just beneath the skin. If the driver’s BAC is over the legal limit, the car will shut down and will not start again.

 

Users might expect such intricate technology to be pretty pricey, but the NHTSA has made sure that most, if not all, users can afford it. Altogether, the sensors are expected to cost only $150 to $200, which is the same price as an airbag. At such an affordable price, it would appear that DADSS would become a staple in the motor industry.

 

It will be a few years before DADSS makes it to the markets, and we may see a change in federal requirements during this time span. Either way, this new product has the potential to save thousands of lives. The NHTSA may have finally created the device that will significantly lower drunk driving death rates across the country, and our roads may finally become a much safer place.


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