Everyday, people make the choice to get behind the wheel after they have been drinking and in many cases they make it home or to their next destination. Unfortunately, we all know that drunk drivers get into accidents all the time, taking their life and potentially the lives of others. Drunk driving isn’t a joke, which is why companies have been working hard to develop systems that can be put into place to keep drunk drivers from being able to get behind the wheel and put peoples’ lives at risk. In many states, people who receive driving under the influence (DUI) charges are given ignition interlock devices that are basically breathalyzers that keep cars from starting if alcohol is detected on one’s breath. The devices have been proven to be effective, but are pretty cumbersome and intrusive, which is why developers are working to create a device that can tell one’s blood alcohol content (BAC) through the skin using infrared technology.
A Michigan based company is working on making the device small enough to fit in an ignition button. It would be able to test BAC quickly and inconspicuously making it a more comfortable experience than a breathalyzer. The auto supplier Takata and its partner, TruTouch have received a grant or $2.25 million from the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety to develop the new device, according to the Detroit Free Press. Takata hopes to be able to make the device small with a quick processing time and will be able to work in a whole range of temperatures. Takata is working to get the price of the device down to about $200, but it probably will not be ready for the market for about 10 years. According to the article, the device is as accurate as a blood test according to developers.
“The goal is to take impaired drivers off the road,” Kirk Morris, Takata’s Vice President of Business Development, told the newspaper. “Breathalyzers are invasive. You have to blow into a tube.” He said the new device would be so unobtrusive, making it hard for drivers to be aware of it which is good for a number of reasons.