A driver alcohol detection system that would be installed in cars could be ready for production in five years, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced.
The system would determine if a person sitting in the driver's seat is intoxicated, without requiring them to breathe into an interlock device, Fox News reports.
Researchers are refining two technologies that will allow the system to focus solely on the driver, and isolate them from passengers who have consumed alcohol. One technology collects air from the driver's breath and directs it to infrared sensors in the car, which can analyze the ratio of carbon dioxide to alcohol.
The second technology involves a start button or gearshift lever that the driver would have to touch to operate the car. It uses a beam of infrared light on the blood just below the surface of the skin to measure alcohol content. If one or both of the technologies determine the driver is intoxicated, the vehicle will not start, the article notes.
The $10 million cost of the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) is being split by NHTSA and its auto industry partners.
"DADSS has enormous potential to prevent drunk driving in specific populations such as teen drivers and commercial fleets, and making it an option available to vehicle owners would provide a powerful new tool in the battle against drunk driving deaths," NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind said in a news release.