Toyota Is Testing In-Car Breath-Alcohol System

The Japanese carmaker announced that it has begun testing a breath-alcohol ignition-interlock system, installed on selected trucks and other vehicles of Japanese transport companies. The system, jointly developed by Toyota and Hino Motors, will be tested from September 1 to November 30.

The system uses a hand-held unit containing both a breathalyzer that can detect alcohol in a small breath sample and a digital camera that photographs the driver's face for identification. In case of a positive result and depending on the level of alcohol detected, the system either warns the driver or locks the vehicle's ignition.

Destined to help companies and organizations to better manage their car fleet, the system prevents drivers from operating vehicles in an inebriated state. The fleet administrators will monitor and verify the test results that are automatically recorded on the vehicle's digital tachograph.

According to a company’s statement, the system-use flow looks as follows:
  1. Before vehicle use, driver uses hand-held unit with breathalyzer to test own breath and take photograph of own face for test-taker identification; results automatically recorded on digital tachograph
  2. If breath-test result is positive, warning is issued or vehicle ignition is locked, with fleet administrators then contacted by driver; safety instructions, such as telling driver to wait, are then given by fleet administrators
  3. After vehicle use, driver provides tachograph data to fleet administrators
  4. Fleet administrators verify records of breathalyzer checks as part of daily vehicle-operation management
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