Cheers to that! New tech to help cars detect when you're drunk, prevent drive

India reports thousands of deaths each year due to drunken driving and while penalties are harsh, enforcement may be less than ideal. How about a car playing cop then?
By : Shubhodeep Chakravarty
| Updated on: 21 Sep 2022, 09:53 AM
Driving under the influence of alcohol is not just hazardous for the person behind the wheel and all other occupants in the vehicle but people around the car as well.
Driving under the influence of alcohol is not just hazardous for the person behind the wheel and all other occupants in the vehicle but people around the car as well.
Driving under the influence of alcohol is not just hazardous for the person behind the wheel and all other occupants in the vehicle but people around the car as well.
Driving under the influence of alcohol is not just hazardous for the person behind the wheel and all other occupants in the vehicle but people around the car as well.

Driving under the influence of alcohol is one of the leading causes for road accidents across the world and while most countries have extremely severe penalties for the offense, enforcement may not be unilaterally effective everywhere. But what if your car itself prevents you from driving off when you may have had one too  many?

In a day and age when modern vehicles come equipped with a host of advanced features which also include driver detection systems, alcohol impairment detection systems are catching up as well. In the United States for instance, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has called for alcohol impairment detection systems to come as standard across all vehicles and sub variants. NTSB official Jennifer Homendy points to a car crash on New Year's Day last January when nine people, including seven children, died in a tragic head-on collision between a Dodge SUV and a Ford F-150 truck in rural California. “Technology could’ve prevented this heartbreaking crash – just as it can prevent the tens of thousands of fatalities from impaired-driving and speeding-related crashes we see in the US annually," she said.

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In the US alone, there were over 11,000 deaths due to drunk driving in 2020. Here in India, there were around 8,300 deaths caused by drunk driving in the same year. Speeding, driving in the incorrect lane, inability to navigate through turns and random reversing are cited as some of the big factors that drunk or tipsy drivers are guilty of. But alcohol impairment detection systems can put an end - or at reduce - to such unfortunate incidents.

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Alcohol impairment detection systems can work in varied ways. A driver's facial features are passively monitored much like how the driver drowsiness detection systems work. If the person behind the wheel is found to be impaired, the system can sound a loud alarm or even gradually bring down the speed of the vehicle and bring it to a halt. The system is still being perfected and its application areas being studied.

First Published Date: 21 Sep 2022, 09:53 AM IST
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