In the future, your car might decide if you're capable of driving, or drunk out of your mind and unable to drive 200 metres without looking like a GTA character.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed an alcohol-detection technology that it wants to implement in future vehicles. If the technology detects you’ve been drinking, it can decide not to start the car at all.
Named DADSS (Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety), the program can detect if the person behind the wheel is intoxicated beyond legal limit in two ways. One is a breathalyzer attached to the steering wheel that analyses the driver's breath. The other is a sensor on the ignition button that will similarly detect BAC levels using infrared light to scan the finger. In both cases, the car's engines are locked down if the driver is found to be alcohol impaired.
Alcohol-impaired driving crashes kill nearly 10,000 people annually, NHTSA says in a press release, adding that this alcohol-detection vehicle technology could potentially save thousands of lives each year.
“This is a perfect example of why we at DOT are bullish on technology,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “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.”
The NHTSA isn't looking to make this technology mandatory. Still, it’s already being opposed by those concerned with the reliability of simply measuring BAC levels without context. Each person processes alcohol differently, so an outright reading of DADSS might not be accurate.