February 3, 2011

US scientists create technology to end drink driving

Researchers in Massachusetts are developing a new technology, known as the Driver Alcohol Detection Systems for Safety, which will save many lives.

The future technology will prevent a car from starting if the driver’s blood is higher than the legal limit.

The technology has attracted the attention of many including US Transportation Secretary and David Strickland, head, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Strickland said: “Alcohol related car accidents kill more than 9,000 Americans every year. We hope this new technology reduces that figure drastically once it is launched commercially, 8-10 years from now.”

The Driver Alcohol Detection Systems for Safety measures if the blood alcohol level of the driver is above the legal limit of 0.08 percent. This is done by analysing a driver’s breath or through the skin.

The sophisticated system uses touch-based sensors situated in places like steering wheels and door locks to check whether the driver is under the influence of alcohol or not.

The new technology, which started as a project by QinetiQ engineers in 2008, is faster than systems currently on the market, providing results in less than one second.

The project has received $10 million in funding by NHTSA and Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety (ACTS).

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