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New Idea to Control Drunk Drivers

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On: Wed, Nov 20, 2013 at 11:26AM | By: Karen Cook

New Idea to Control Drunk Drivers

Did you know that between 2006 and 2011 the number of traffic fatalities involving alcohol declined consistently? Were we more responsible? Were we not driving drunk? Or were we just lucky? We may never know but the trend is over. Intoxicated drivers killed more 4.6% more people in 2012 than in 2011. And it appears the numbers will continue to rise.

Obviously the answer is don’t drink and drive. Watch the commercials. It could cost you more than you’re willing to part with, but if you kill someone it truly cost them everything. I have less pity for the driver who kills himself. Unfortunately, we can’t depend on people to police themselves or their friends for that matter. So how do we deal with this issue? Some auto makers think they have the answer.

Drunk driving detectors have been available in some automobiles for a while now, but they work only if the driver breathes into a tube to let the car check his blood alcohol level. A new system now being designed does not depend on the driver to do anything. It can detect high alcohol levels by simply testing the air as the driver breathes. If the level is too high, the car simply won’t start. The test can also be done through the push button starter or the steering wheel. If you’re drunk it comes out everywhere. The test is run every time the car is started but if you aren’t dangerously intoxicated you won’t notice.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is working with car makers to implement this new system, but the technology is still about five years away from becoming available in most cars. They believe this technology could save about 3,000 lives every year.

It’s sad that people can’t watch out for themselves and each other. Driving isn’t a right set forth in the Constitution. It’s a privilege and adults should have more self-control when taking the lives of themselves and others in their hands. That being said, I don’t know if this new detection system is the answer. The car tests the air inside the vehicle. Say you have three friends with you and none of you are above the legal limit. How does the car know to test just the driver? Your combined breathing could be well over the limit and now you can’t get home. Hopefully, they’ll work this out before it is released.



DipStick | 11:40AM (Wed, Nov 20, 2013)

Just open the windows to render this device useless....

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