A car that senses when you’ve been drinking isn’t too far away

| Jun 7, 2021 | DWI/DUI

If you’re dealing with a drunk driving arrest, you may be wishing that your vehicle could have stopped you from driving. Yes, there are ignition interlock devices, but those are typically installed as a condition for getting your driver’s license back after a DWI or DUI conviction.

A car that can detect when you’re over the legal limit (or even if you have any alcohol in your system) and prevent a vehicle from starting or moving is not too far in the future. That technology, known as the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) has been in the research, development and testing phases for some time. It’s going to be rolled out for commercial vehicles later this year and within a few years to passenger vehicles.

This month, the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety, Inc. (ACTS), a non-profit organization that represents automakers, announced this upcoming milestone for commercial trucking fleets. ACTS has been working with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to develop DADSS, which is a passive, non-invasive alcohol detection system integrated into a vehicle that can measure a driver’s exact blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

A “game-changer in the fight to eliminate drunk driving”

That’s what the head of ACTS calls the technology. He also calls it a “true feat of biomedical and vehicle engineering…unlike anything ever designed for vehicles.” However, he noted that it “requires further development to become fully passive for consumer use.”

The first-generation version of DADSS requires a driver to breathe toward a sensor on the side door or steering wheel. However, the next-generation technology that would be installed in passenger vehicles would detect alcohol within seconds without the driver having to do anything. That version is still undergoing testing.

A couple of decades from now, this technology could make drunk driving almost a thing of the past. However, for now, a DWI can have serious consequences to both your work and personal life. It’s essential to take an arrest seriously and to understand your legal rights.