A new technology pushed by the Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration could prevent 7,000 deaths yearly due to drunk-driving.
Yearly, there are approximately 10,000 deaths across the United States that are due to drunk driving. In light of this number, the NHTSA in partnership with automakers and technology developers are looking to implement the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety, or DADSS.
The technology is still in its prototype phase, yet it is expected that it will be integrated in all new cars five years from now, thus drastically reducing the number of deaths due to alcohol consumption.
The news regarding DADSS came on Thursday during a Washington D.C.-based event when a prototype vehicle that had the technology implemented was shown. The system works to detect alcohol concentration above 0.08 and block the car instantly so the driver cannot maneuver it despite his or her best attempts.
There are two technologies that could be implemented to this effect in the pipeline currently. Firstly, there a system is researched that could calculate the concentration of alcohol by simply sampling the breath of the driver.
This technology is developed by Autoliv Development from Sweden. It works by implementing a sensor in the steering wheel. This sensor is then able to analyze the exhaled breath via an infrared light. A difference is made between CO2 particles and molecules of alcohol, which are absorbing infrared light at specific wavelengths.
Secondly, another technological tweak is worked on by Takata and TruTouch. This system would also be based on infrared light, only this time it would scan the fingertip of the driver for an accurate calculation of alcohol concentration in the blood.
Mark Rosekind, administrator of NHTSA stated that:
“There is still a great deal of work to do, but support from Congress and industry has helped us achieve key research and development milestones”.
In addition he hailed the beneficial effects of these new technologies in the sense that once implemented, specific target groups would be much safer on the road. Or off it. Consider teen drivers or commercial fleets.
If implemented, the DADSS would be far more efficient that seat belts, air bags or any other kind of safety measures which has its undoubted benefits. Yet, for drunk drivers it only helps in the moment of an impact, if at all. Stopping them before even starting the car goes a long way.
Prices for DADSS add-ons have not been made public. Yet, it is expected that they will not exceed that of conventional safety measure, reaching at as much as 150-200 dollars.
Image Source: medicaldaily.com
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