Go Ahead, Have Another Drink — The Car Knows When You've Had Too Much

from the boozy dept

Toyota says it’s developed a new system to detect drunk drivers that eschews the simple breathalyzer for a far more complex system. It detects the level of alcohol in a user’s sweat through sensors in the steering wheel, it uses a camera to track eye movements, and follows sudden steering movements. If it determines a car’s driver is intoxicated, it shuts the car down by slowing it to a halt. The system’s been designed following an increase in drunk-driving concerns in Japan. Nissan is working on breathalyzer systems for its cars, while mobile-phone company KDDI is selling the Alc-Mobile, a combination mobile phone/breathalyzer, to taxi and bus companies which want to ensure their drivers aren’t drunk. It’s hard to find much fault with something that will keep drunk drivers off the roads, although there are people who question how well they actually work. However, it’s worth wondering at what point all of these devices simply replace personal responsibility for some people, and that unintended effect ends up causing harm. Already, we see people deferring to GPS when they should know better, and systems like adaptive cruise control promise to remove much of the thought from highway driving. So if the car can decide where and how fast you should drive, why not let it decide if you’ve had too much to drink, too? It’s not hard to see somebody with this system going out and drinking, and just thinking that if they’re too drunk to drive home, the car will eventually shut itself off. After all, if the car doesn’t shut down, regardless of how much the driver’s had to drink, it must be okay, right?

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Comments on “Go Ahead, Have Another Drink — The Car Knows When You've Had Too Much”

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Sanguine Dream says:

Oh the lawsuits...

that would be filed the first time something like that fails and lets a drunk drive anyway. This sounds like a way to remove personal responsibility. So now when little Suzy has had too much to drink, tries to drive, and causes a multi-car pileup that kills a few people she can sue Toyota for selling her a faulty product.

Ted says:

Sounds like an acident waiting to happen

If the cars fail to curb themselves then sleepy and intoxicated drivers could find themselves sitting in a dead car in the middle of the highway. While most intoxicated drivers will be detected when the car is started, what about drivers that drink while driving or take extra stepts (like wearing gloves & sunglasses) to trick the sensors?

Witty Nickname says:


This reminds me of a story pretty soon after 9-11. The Airport security screeners at LaGuardia didn’t want to be called racists so they asked for volunteers to have intrusive security sweeps to meet their quota politely. The problem being that a terrorist would probably not volunteer.

I would think those who like alcohol would not buy a Toyota. Don’t get me wrong, if it prevents one death it is worth it, and I like the idea that it is not being governemnet mandated (yet), but Toyota will loose money, especcially if they do something stupid like patent it and tell potential customers, OUR CARS are the only ones that won’t work when you are drunk.

Jason Bateman says:

Instant DUI by design?

What happens to the bartender who has not drank a single drop of alcohol all through his long 6 hour shift, but has handled hundreds of drinks all night long?

This bartender, now tired and with eyes adjusted to low lighting for these past 6 hours, now gets into his car and tries to drive home… (the same could be ask of other restaurant workers).

The similar symptoms could occur in people who work out at the gym or sit in the sauna for several hours just before driving – since fatigue and sweating out all the “toxins” such as alcohol and such, does happen during your work outs if you had several drinks earlier in the week.

It has also been proven that alcohol can stay in your system for up to 48 hours – enough so, that you are now sober and able to perform all normal skills without handicap, but as far as an officer’s breathalizer is concerned, you are still DUI if you dicied to drive.

The way the police look at it, even if you have NOT caused an accident or were even driving erratically — or even slightly displayed any visual signs of intoxication, your are guilty of DUI… BECAUSE you *MAY* cause an accident.

And with saying that, according to the article above, you would still be able to drive intoxicated, if you had a questionable BAC (Blood Alcohol Content ratio) but you did not display any physical signs of intoxication.

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