The day is not far when your friend will not have to take your car keys if you have too much to drink.
Instead, your car may become the decider, judging if you are fit to drive.
According to Insurance.com, researchers are working on developing two different technologies that could automatically detect your blood alcohol content either through your touch or your breath.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recently extended its agreement with car makers to develop what is known as the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADDS), which would detect if your BAC is above the legal limit of 0.08 percent and prevent you from driving if it is too high.
Experts say that such a system will be very valuable when it comes to preventing drinking and driving.
A DADDS system would be different from ignition interlock systems, which under California law, must be installed in the vehicle of someone who has been convicted of a DUI.
These systems require the driver to blow into a tube and prevent the vehicle from starting if alcohol is detected. However, the new systems will detect alcohol “unobtrusively, accurately and reliably.”
The goal of these new technologies, safety experts say, will be to stop the driver from getting on the road in the first place when he or she is drunk.
Not Without Challenges
Researchers are looking at several challenges in getting this technology going. Among the issues are where to locate the touch-based sensor. Possibilities include the push button start, gearshift or the steering wheel shaft.
Researchers must also decide where to locate the breath-based sensor. There are other questions as well.
How will touch technology work if someone is wearing gloves? How will breath technology work in a convertible? Will vehicles be equipped with breath or touch technology or both? How will the technology hold up in the harsh environment of a vehicle?
Researchers hope they can answer these and other questions and that the technology will be viable by the year 2018.
Prevention is Key
When it comes to driving under the influence, prevention is key. Hopefully, these new technologies will help prevent drunk drivers from operating their vehicles.
DUI is not an accident. It is often a conscious choice made by drivers – but a dangerous one. If you have been drinking, please do not drive. Planning is critical. If you know you will be partying or drinking, designate a sober driver or call a cab.
If no other options are available, remain at the location until you are sober and it is safe for you to drive. Drinking and driving is never worth it and it is never an option.