Question about keyless ignition vehicles and alcohol sniffers

By learninmypc
Aug 7, 2012
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  1. I don't recall the make/model of it, but a friend has one & I went on a ride with her last Saturday. When I saw no key go into the ignition,(she pushed a button & then put it in reverse) a thought came to mind.
    With regular cars if you're an excessive drinker, they'll sometimes put a "sniffer" type gadget in the car so if it detects alcohol,the car won't start.
    So, the thought that came to my mind is how would they keep a keyless car from being driven by a drunk?
    My friend doesn't drink so that is not a concern,but in general.
    Another friend told me they scan your hand so you can open the doors & start it that way, but what is going to stop a drunk from drinking & driving?
  2. DamianN7

    DamianN7 TechSpot Member Posts: 24

    I think it works the same way. It does not matter if its a key ignition or a push button one. You would still need to breathe first into the breathalyzer in order to remove the block the "sniffer" has on the ignition.

    Don’t worry, who ever installs the "sniffer" will make sure you can’t by pass it :) its just wiring.
  3. learninmypc

    learninmypc TechSpot Guru Topic Starter Posts: 4,554   +184

    Ok, I got to thinkin' after I posted that possible the "scanner" could/might detect alcohol in your hand & not function.
    Either way, its an awesome car. She puts it in reverse & a built in monitor shows whats behind the car.
    Pops it into drive & other details show where the monitor is.(y)Thanks for your input
  4. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,925   +170

    Totally random question but what does this have to do with hybrid vehicles? I came here to slate hybrids :p
  5. learninmypc

    learninmypc TechSpot Guru Topic Starter Posts: 4,554   +184

    I've been in bars/cocktail lounges where the bartender/bouncer asked me or another patron how we/they got there because in my state,Washington state, the tavern/cocktail lounge can be held responsible for over serving an intoxicated individual.
    I've seen them take possession of a persons keys & let them take a cab home so they can't drink & drive.
    So my question is, if you're driving a keyless car & go to a tavern/cocktail lounge & you tell the bartender/bouncer you drive a keyless car, what is going to stop that car from starting so you CAN'T drink & drive? I hope I've explained it adequately.
  6. slh28

    slh28 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,925   +170

    Yeah but hybrid vehicle =/= push to start button.
    Anyway I've never heard of sniffer devices in cars... how do they work? What if the passenger has drunk a lot of alcohol, wouldn't the device pick that up and you wouldn't be able to drive?
  7. learninmypc

    learninmypc TechSpot Guru Topic Starter Posts: 4,554   +184

    That is why I brought this up. I know they have devices or ways to disable a KEY operated car from starting, but I have no idea how its done with a keyless car.
    As I previously stated, my friend doesn't drink so I'm just asking. If I knew the make/model of the car, I'd contact the dealer.
    Hoping somebody in here either has a Hybrid or knows how its done.
  8. Ranger12

    Ranger12 TechSpot Guru Posts: 617   +111

    From my understanding of keyless cars they're not truly "keyless". You still have a little dongle(for lack of a better word) that works much like an RFID so that the push button doesn't work unless the dongle is within a certain range of the car.

    The alcohol detector or breathalyzer works by placing your mouth on the breathalyzer and breathing into into. It then measures your blood alcohol content by your breath. So it won't confuse a drunk passenger for a drunk driver unless te passenger actually uses the device which is only done intentionally.

    I think that answers some questions here. Maybe I didn't understand the questions.
  9. learninmypc

    learninmypc TechSpot Guru Topic Starter Posts: 4,554   +184

    Ok, I didn't know about the "dongle" which tells me if the driver don't have it in his/her possesion, the vehicle won't go.
    I think I'll I'll locate a local Hybrid dealer in my area & ask them & post the results in here.
    IF anybody else wishes to do same, I have no problem with it.
    I'm just tired of seeing drinking & driving in the news every day.
    The "it won't happen to me" is NOT true.
  10. Ranger12

    Ranger12 TechSpot Guru Posts: 617   +111

    My aunt was killed by a drunk driver when she was 18 and that has caused me to feel rather strongly about not drinking. Drinking is a luxury so it's not necessary and yet we pay a steep price for it (at least here in the US) to the tune of 43,000 alcohol related traffic fatalities in 2005. I guarantee you none of them were expecting to die, especially those who were killed by others.
  11. learninmypc

    learninmypc TechSpot Guru Topic Starter Posts: 4,554   +184

    I know how you feel. My brother unfortunately killed himself (UNintentionally) because he had been partying. I'm not going into details, but that was one of the first things I thought about when I saw my friend just jump in the car & push the button,put it in gear & we were on our way.
    I'm going to go google Hybrid cars now to see what I can find out. Ranger12,I'm sorry for your loss.
  12. davislane1

    davislane1 TechSpot Maniac Posts: 859   +274

    Your search should be for keyless ignitions, not hybrids. It'll weed out a lot of noise as keyless ignition is a feature you can get on just about any new car these days.

    Taking someone's keys will still be just as effective in a keyless vehicle as a standard one because you still need the key in or near the car to start it, you just don't have to stick it in a key hole (the car scans an RFID chip embedded in the key/remote instead). If you wanted a safety that disabled the ignition you'd just have to install an appropriate breathalyzer. It would work exactly like an ignition lock on a standard car.

    Edit: Wiki on ignition locks http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ignition_interlock_device
  13. learninmypc

    learninmypc TechSpot Guru Topic Starter Posts: 4,554   +184

    Ok, I've already emailed a local dealer,just waiting for a reply.
    The car my friend drives is a hybrid which is why I used that . Will re try using keyless ignition. Thanks.
     
  14. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TechSpot Paladin Posts: 5,062   +1,179

    There was actually two questions, one about the sniffer and the other about the substitution for keys.

    Regardless of how the sniffer works, an electric circuit will still need to be broken to block either gas or electric vehicles. The blocks can be implemented at the battery, electric motor/starter(for gas engines), push button/key switch, or computer module. There are a number of censors on a vehicle that can cause an engine to stop functioning, controlling anyone of these sensors can also control the vehicles functionality.
  15. learninmypc

    learninmypc TechSpot Guru Topic Starter Posts: 4,554   +184

    Ok, thanks.:)
  16. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 12,247   +213

    Mod update: Changed the topic title to more accurately reflect the intended discussion.
  17. learninmypc

    learninmypc TechSpot Guru Topic Starter Posts: 4,554   +184

  18. DamianN7

    DamianN7 TechSpot Member Posts: 24

    The "sniffer" works just like your standard police breathalyzer test. It will not detect anything until the driver blows into it.

    Whats there to stop a drunk to get someone else to blow it for him? Don't know. I doubt they test your dna.

    As for the "keyless" ignition. As someone stated above already - You need to have your key on you, like in your pocket or bag. You just don't need to take it out to unlock the car and start it. It detects it if you stand near it for like 5 seconds. So a bartender can take your key. :)
  19. learninmypc

    learninmypc TechSpot Guru Topic Starter Posts: 4,554   +184

    Yes, I'm accepting that "As for the "keyless" ignition. As someone stated above already - You need to have your key on you, like in your pocket or bag.",
    As far as I'm concerned, my question has been answered adequately & I appreciate everybody's input.
    Regardless of your type of vehicle, DON'T DRINK & DRIVE. It aint worth it.
    davislane1 likes this.


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