The government is cracking down on people who drink and drive with an auto industry program that is in process of developing an in-car device that detects drunken drivers. This tool will be installed in all new vehicles, and is set to receive a six-fold increase in the annual funding.
The Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety program’s budget receives $2 million per year, but is set to increase to $12 million for the next five years. This in-car device will automatically sniff the driver’s breath or use a light beam to test the alcohol content of tissue, in effect preventing a drunk driver from starting the vehicle.
The installation of such a device could potentially save thousands. Based on 2008 stats, almost 12,000 people died in alcohol-impaired car crashes. This tool wouldn’t be mandatory, but the safety advantages would be a definite asset to the list of new car perks. Thirteen automakers are already onboard with the project, who are sure that drivers will want to voluntarily add the mechanism to their vehicles as an added safety measure. Having one of these devices installed would hopefully mean that drivers would pay lower insurance rates.
Susan Ferguson, program director for Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety, is optimistic about the new device and suggests that it could save 8,000 to 9,000 lives per year. “I think it is equivalent to the next seat belt,” she said. “It could make a huge difference in highway safety.”
Would you ever consider adding this alcohol-detecting device in your new car? Leave your comments below.