NHTSA wants to use technology to curb drunk driving

By Shawn Knight ยท 24 replies
Jun 8, 2015
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  1. anti-drunk nhtsa breathalyzer drunk driving

    Eliminating drunk driving is just one of the many benefits self-driving cars are expected to deliver once they become commonplace in the coming years. Until then, advocates like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are researching other forms of technology to help curb the problem.

    The NHTSA recently showcased two prototypes hatched through Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS), its collaborative research partnership that involves 17 automakers as well as others.

    The first is a built-in breathalyzer that would be mounted either on the steering wheel / column or the driver-side door of a vehicle. The device would be able to “smell” alcohol on your breath from a distance in less than a second.

    The other implementation under consideration is a touch-based sensor that could be mounted on the ignition button or on the gear shifter. It reads blood alcohol levels below the skin’s surface by shining a beam of light onto a finger.

    In both systems, if you’re Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is over 0.08 (the legal limit in all 50 states), the vehicle won’t move. It can also be programmed for zero-tolerance for minors meaning if any alcohol is detected, the vehicle will become immobile.

    The NHTSA says consumers will be able to purchase the alcohol detection system as a safety option although predictably, not everyone believes this is a good idea.

    American Beverage Institute Managing Director Sarah Longwell told The Detroit News that this will simply stop many responsible social drinkers who have a glass of wine with dinner from starting their cars.

    Of course, there will be plenty of time for debate as the NHTSA believes it could take upwards of eight years to wrap up the necessary research and development needed to produce a consumer-grade solution. By that time, we may be pretty close to a future filled with autonomous vehicles.

    Permalink to story.

  2. What if the other 4 are drunk after a night at a club and getting close and talking to the driver so he can hear them, and the car stinks like alcohol, will it stop working?
    Frosted Flake likes this.
  3. Frosted Flake

    Frosted Flake TS Rookie

    Absolutely right. This idea fails to allow the designated driver to drive.
  4. Frosted Flake

    Frosted Flake TS Rookie

    And this comment page is programmed almost as well.
  5. Frosted Flake

    Frosted Flake TS Rookie

    Why is my reply not simply attached to the comment I replied to, like it is done everywhere else since virtual time began?
  6. Arris

    Arris TS Evangelist Posts: 4,730   +379

    Because it links into non threaded forum software (check out the "Jump to forum mode" button.
  7. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,664   +1,949

    Here in Dublin, Ireland, any cabbie on Saturday nights is a *****house on wheels, stinking with alcohol and often puke. Doesn't mean the driver has been drinking.

  8. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,681   +1,080

    I have a better solution, don't drink alcohol. Of course, not everyone likes this idea.
  9. Tekkaraiden

    Tekkaraiden TS Evangelist Posts: 997   +93

    Or just don't drink and then drive.
  10. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 3,664   +1,949

    This subject gets overflowed with brilliant ideas so quick, my head is going to explode.
  11. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 1,681   +1,080

    I was originally going to say that, but sound judgement tends to go out the window after the booze comes in.
  12. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,346   +1,987

    I like the concept but there are many logical arguments here; not to mention the additional cost to every driver when it should only be applied to those drivers that drink. Cars are already expensive enough without another well intentioned gadget being made "standard". Sadly, the old horse and buggy are starting to look more appealing .... and God knows my garden could use a bit more fertilizer!
  13. damnthereaper

    damnthereaper TS Enthusiast Posts: 44

    As someone who has had DUI I understand the dangers of drinking and driving. This though is going over the top. This will legitimately hinder people who have done nothing wrong. Perfect example is mouthwash. Most people use it in the morning and don't think anything of it until a device checks your breath and denies you driving because of the alcohol on your breath (which only few of them are alcohol free). The only way ti for sure tell exactly how intoxicated someone is through a blood test, maybe we can get one of those Star trek injector/sample takers?
  14. Breathalyzers aren't accurate. I use an electronic cigarette which has a low percentage of alcohol content in the base of many flavors. If you inhale the vapor and then do a breathalyzer test within 60 seconds, it will test positive for alcohol (usually over the limit). Considering the liquid is less than 1 percent alcohol, and the tank holding the liquid holds 1ml of liquid (each puff being something like 0.002ml), clearly you can't get drunk, or feel any effects of alcohol whatsoever.

    My wife uses a natural herb spray for lowering her anxiety, it has a low percentage of alcohol content as well. The same thing happens if she were to do a breathalyzer test within a couple minutes of using the spray. We need a better way to test for alcohol. I don't drink and drive, but I believe if this technology was in my vehicle, I would test positive for alcohol everytime (since I vape a lot).
  15. RebelFlag

    RebelFlag TS Addict Posts: 147   +78

    Exactly, ask anyone who has had a DUI and had a breath alcohol interlock device installed in their car how reliable those are. There are many innocuous daily things that cause false readings, and the readings can even be skewed by the ambient temperature.
  16. captaincranky

    captaincranky TechSpot Addict Posts: 13,006   +2,532

    Why not just stop drinking alcohol and worrying about breathalyzer tests. .As an alternative for your partying needs, might I suggest you try an Adderal / Zanax, "speed ball". That should get you high as a kite, with little to no risk of falling asleep at the wheel.
  17. "Breathalyzers aren't accurate. I use an electronic cigarette which has a low percentage of alcohol content in the base of many flavors."
    Speaking as someone who mixes their own vape liquid I have to say, what utter twaddle!
    Flavouring amounts are miniscule. Let's put it this way..Imagine the flavouring was 100% alcohol. I have used approx 5 millilitres in the last 4-5 months and I vape like a train!
    That would just about wet the bottom of a glass!
  18. @ Guest : I agree, my math is wrong. The alcohol content would be even less than what I proposed, being that most mixes contain around 10% flavoring, however breathalyzers still pick it up. Try it for yourself if you don't believe me. I blew 0.095 literally just from the miniscule alcohol content in the vapor I had inhaled a minute prior. Upon drinking some water and retrying a few minutes later the result came out 0.000. Of course you need a flavor which actually contains alcohol.

    Then if you go further, some people add alcohol to their mixes to create a throat hit in placement of nicotine. I bet those would dish out some ridiculous readings, imagine sub ohm'ing with one of those mixes.

    As for you using 5ml of flavoring in the past 5 months. That makes no sense at all. Flavoring from TPA, FA, FW, Capella, almost all require roughly a 10% mix (of course certain flavors can be much less). But that means on average 3ml of flavoring into a 30ml bottle with your PG/VG/Nic. Unless you're using Lorannes, which I suppose is maybe possible. I stay away from vaping oil based flavors.
  19. war59312

    war59312 TS Booster Posts: 131   +11

    "simply stop many responsible social drinkers who have a glass of wine with dinner from starting their cars."

    Bull ****! A glass of wine would not make you above 0.8. Give me a break. Only people who have a problem with this are the alcoholics.

    If you are above 0.8 its illegal to drive, period! Why you are above 0.8 does NOT matter!
  20. war59312

    war59312 TS Booster Posts: 131   +11

    I for one am all in for making it required, not optional. I'd gladly pay more to make damn sure everyone is not drunk behind the wheel.

    And there needs to be a major fine if you blow hot and your car denies you. After all your trying to break the law by driving drunk and it stopped you. This fine money would be used to pay for the device.
  21. war59312

    war59312 TS Booster Posts: 131   +11

    Stop spreading FUD!!!!!! Using mouth wash would NOT take you to above 0.8 levels. Do some research! And you are exactly the kinda of person (previous DUI) that needs this system. You should have been required to buy one the day you got that DUI in my book and I know a lot of my peers agree.
  22. The common limit is not 0.8, it is 0.08, you would die before reaching 0.8. I believe 0.08 is more than reasonable. When you reach the point that you feel noticeably intoxicated, you'll be around 0.06, which I don't think you should drive anyways.

    While driving drunk is dangerous, consider this: Most people that would never drive after drinking will however drive and text or talk on their phone. Texting and driving has been proven to be SIX times more likely to cause an accident (over driving drunk). I'm definitely not condoning drunk driving, however these pretentious people that text and drive need to realize they're SIX times more dangerous than drunk drivers.
  23. Makes perfect sense, as that's what I have used. I bought two 10ml bottles of DKS plus concentrated flavour and use up to 20 drips per 100ml which is how much I mix at one time. Around half of the first 10ml is used so far.
  24. Capaill

    Capaill TS Evangelist Posts: 452   +180

    I like the little bottle in the top photo. Looks smaller than a naggin. Where can I get one for my car?!
  25. damnthereaper

    damnthereaper TS Enthusiast Posts: 44

    Well I DID buy one and from experience I can tell you right now that the case actually happens because it happens to me on MULTIPLE occasions. Don't spout like you know something unless you have actually been through it. Also breathalyzers are temperature sensitivities, meaning too hot and you can't have a clear test, I lost a whole lot of groceries once that way.

    And yes I did need the system and it taught me a good lesson, because it was major pain. Ask anyone who has actually had one and they will tell you it got them to not drink and drive because of the headache of just using car in normal circumstances.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 10, 2015

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