Drunk Driving Could Become Impossible in the Future Thanks to this Invention

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 Unfortunately, a lot of people say "I'm not really THAT drunk, I can get home, it's not far away" and get behind the wheel with a concentration of alcohol in their blood above .08.
It's people like these who cause the roughly 11,000 deaths a year in the US attributed to drunk driving. It's no joking matter and it takes a very strong conscience (or very good sober friends) to know you're not supposed to drive when under the influence.

But that's the kind of self-control not a lot of us possess. And it's exactly why a Canadian start-up company Sober Steering has come up with this technology that will prevent the car from starting if it detects an alcohol concentration higher than the legal limit. It can also send the information via GPS to the fleet managers, the police or even the family. What a loud-mouth.

The project relies on biosensors in the steering wheel that constantly measure the driver's blood alcohol content through the skin of his hands. A second sensor located on the top of the steering wheel analyses the driver's breath. These two combined can get an accurate idea of whether the driver is up to handle the vehicle or not.

"If there's no alcohol, you drive away normally. If there's alcohol, the bus is immobilized. You can have heat. You can have electricity. You just can't move the vehicle."

This is Catherine Carroll, the company's CEO, explaining how the system would work for a bus driver, an example chosen due to a test-run they had on a fleet of school buses in Ontario, Canada.

The advantages of this method are numerous. First of all, the sensors can be retrofitted on any steering wheel, so that's not an issue. What's more, the driver can perform the test repeatedly and while driving, so there's no need to pull over - all he has to do is swipe his hand against the sensor. The reading takes less than a second.

Should a driver fail to take the test when prompted, or fail the test due to a high alcohol concentration, a running vehicle will not be immediately stopped, for obvious safety reasons. Instead, the driver will be issued with a warning message, while a text will be sent to the police, informing them of the driver's position and heading.

This all sounds very promising - if not a bit Orwellian - and don't be surprised if one day, all this will come as standard equipment on your new car. But we're still some time away from that. Until then, we're going to have to rely on our conscience and designated drivers.

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About the author: Vlad Mitrache
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"Boy meets car, boy loves car, boy gets journalism degree and starts job writing and editing at a car magazine" - 5/5. (Vlad Mitrache if he was a movie)
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