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Posts Tagged ‘DWI’

Feds Want Ignition Interlocks for Drunk Drivers

NHTSA chief aims to protect “sober motorists.”

by on Dec.18, 2013

A motorist uses an ignition interlock that can detect a drunk driver.

The nation’s top auto safety manager wants to ramp up the crackdown on drunk drivers, and is urging that all states begin requiring ignition interlocks for anyone convicted of a driving under the influence, even after a first-time offense.

There has been a concerted effort to keep drunks off the road in recent years, targeting what has traditionally been one of the most significant causes of fatal accidents. And the number of fatalities related to the problem has fallen from more than 21,000 annually in the early 80% — accounting for more than 50% of all road deaths, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – to around 10,000 in recent years, a third of traffic fatalities.

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All 50 states and the District of Columbia now make use of ignition interlocks – which are designed to prevent a vehicle from starting if the driver was drinking. But the rules on who must use the devices varies.  In Michigan, for example, only those convicted of having blood-alcohol levels of 0.17, double the legal definition of driving under the influence, must use an interlock. In West Virginia, an interlock can be used for a first-time offender at a judge’s discretion.   Other states only target repeat offenders.

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New Touch Sensor Could Keep Drunks Off the Road

System could be built into a car’s start button.

by on Sep.30, 2011

A prototype system used to detect drunk drivers might eventually be small and cheap enough to be built into a car's Start button.

Imagine a sensor small enough to slip inside of your car’s Start button that could be used to keep drunk drivers off the road.

That’s the goal of a multi-million-dollar project teaming supplier Detroit automotive supplier Takata and TruTouch, of Albuquerque, New Mexico.  With help from the Automotive Coalition for Automotive Safety, or ACTS, they’re hoping to take the concept and put it into production.

Drunk driving is a scourge of the highway, and while intensive enforcement has helped drive down the numbers drivers over the legal limit are still responsible for nearly a third of all U.S. motor vehicle fatalities – about 11,000 in 2010.

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The challenge is to either convince drivers not to drink and drive or to actively prevent them from doing so.  Takata and TruTouch have come up with a device that could do just that.  Rather than awkward breathalyzers that require a user to blow into a tube, or a truly invasive blood test, their prototype system uses an infrared sensor.

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