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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Safety Feature Research: Driver Alcohol Detection System

CU, man buckling seatbelt
CU, man buckling seatbelt (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Many are too young to remember automobiles not equipped with such safety features as seat belts, padded dash boards, air-bags, side mirrors, hazard flashers or even the requirement of babies and toddlers being required to be belted into a child safety seat. As late as the 2000 came breath alcohol ignition interlock device, as of 2009, almost all 50 states have laws permitting the imposition of ignition-interlock devices as sentencing alternatives for drunken drivers. Two years ago we published a post concerning child alcohol monitoring systems (not attached to vehicles, but to kids).

As of Friday, June 29, 2012, the US Congress approved funding for a new transportation funding bill; however, like most bills people are unaware of many items that are included or tacked on through amendments.  You might be surprised to learn the that the new transportation bill includes, according to USA Today, "funds ($5 million dollars over the next two years) for researching alcohol-detection technology that could eventually be standard equipment in all new cars."

Probably the operative word in this news story is research. But still certain industries are upset by the very thought of spending tax dollars on this kind of research.  For example:
  • Restaurant industry group: [that funding] "uses American taxpayer dollars to fund something they're not going to want in their cars."
  • American Beverage Institute (ABI): "Spending lots of taxpayer dollars to develop alcohol-sensing technology that can come as standard equipment in all cars is a misuse of these funds." 
On the other side of the debate is Mothers Against Drunk Driving who advocates for this research saying: "Drunken driving costs the U.S. $132 billion each year, and we think that $5 million … is a good use of transportation dollars to potentially eliminate the problem."

How soon might consumers really see this feature as an option new car...eight to 10 years from now. 

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