New Technology Could Mean the End of Drunk Driving

The US National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has unveiled its prototype of a new way to prevent drunk driving deaths.

DADSS, which is formally known as the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety, is an infrared sensor system built into the steering column of late model vehicles. It possesses the ability to immobilize a host vehicle when it senses a blood alcohol level exceeding .08 mg.

The sensor detects the presence of alcohol through the breath and skin. No additional action needs to be taken by the driver; the sensor reads their BAC as soon as they step into the car. The results are equivalent to using a car breathalyzer, or field sobriety test. The difference with DADSS is that no human initiative is necessary to activate the vehicle immobilization safety protocols. High speed infrared technology is programmed to sense air particulate percentages instantly.

“Education, awareness and enforcement have succeeded in dramatically reducing drunk driving fatalities, but the advanced technology of DADSS brings enormous potential to save even more lives.”
—Anthony Foxx, US Transportation Secretary

According to recent statistics, there are almost 10,000 drunk driving fatalities each year. The key to reducing, or eliminating this statistic, is the presence of a technologically advanced driver safety device that supersedes impaired judgments. Most people understand that existing devices for checking BAC before driving are accurate, but only have an impact if a driver chooses to test him or herself before driving. However, self-reliance of BAC monitoring is impractical in the real world. This is why the new DADSS infrared sensor is a breakthrough in stopping drunk driving incidents.

DADSS is still in the prototype stages, but a big push by a partnership between the US government and the auto industry are working hard to finalize its design. Society can no longer rely on impaired drivers to monitor themselves before choosing to drive drunk. Infrared and high speed blood alcohol sensor technology is a powerful way to make the roads safer for everyone.

Author: Prototyping Engineer

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