A company called QinetiQ is working to develop an alcohol-detection device to be available to automakers in 8 to 10 years. The company received grants from the U.S. government and automakers to develop the technology. According to the Boston Herald, the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) would require a driver to take a breath test and be measured above the 0.08 blood-alcohol limit for the car to start. Another prototype being developed by the company would measure the level of alcohol in someone's system through the driver's fingertips.
Late last week, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, President of Mothers Against Drunk Driving Laura Dean-Mooney, and National Highway Traffic Safety Administrator David Strickland visited the company and viewed the prototypes. LaHood and Mooney said that they believed widespread use of such technology would prevent drunk driving and reduce the number of deaths in the U.S. related to drunk driving, which make up a third of all traffic fatalities.
The company said its goal is to make a device that is accurate and precise. The goal is to be able to come up with a reliable result quickly and not to have any false positives by measuring other alcohol-containing products used by the driver, such as mouthwash. The device would also be tamper-proof.
LaHood says that he envisions the device as a voluntary addition to a vehicle. He believes the incentive for adding one might be a discount on auto insurance rates if it is shown to reduce the likelihood of accidents or third-party liability claims.
Feds lead charge for alcohol detector (Boston Herald)