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Automatic alcohol test for cars

By Tara Baukus Mello ·
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Posted: 6 am ET

Drinking alcohol will undoubtedly be part of the festivities for many Americans celebrating the Fourth of July, and many revelers will be driving their cars home from fireworks and other festivities Wednesday. Drunk driving is a big concern on Independence Day as well as on many other holidays. While alcohol test strips and car breathalyzer devices to help prevent drunk driving are widely available, they all rely on the driver to test their alcohol levels, but that is about to change.

Recently, automotive safety company Autoliv announced that it has developed a breathalyzer device that will automatically take a reading when the driver gets in the car. Autoliv CEO Jan Carlson described the device to auto industry magazine Automotive News as seamless and said, "You should not notice the car has an alcohol detection device in it."

The device is currently in the testing phase, and Autoliv expects it will be on the market in five years. Autoliv sees parents of teens as a large market of the device. In the U.S., a person is injured in a drunk driving crash almost every 90 seconds, and about one-third of all car crashes with teen drivers are alcohol-related, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Car insurance rates for teen drivers are typically higher than they are for other age groups because of their increased risk of a car crash.

Tara Baukus Mello writes the cars blog as well as the weekly Driving for Dollars column, providing both practical financial advice for consumers as well as insight into the latest developments in the automotive world. Follow her on Facebook here or on Twitter @SheDrives.

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July 06, 2012 at 2:47 am

In case none of you noticed the article mainly gave drunk driving stats. It actually gave no info on the device. Mostly a worthless article I'd say.

July 06, 2012 at 2:04 am

wasn't this the same company that just got hit with a $14 mill. fine?

July 06, 2012 at 1:58 am

this whole thing has to be a joke. what if you haven't had anything to drink at all and some fool spills their drink on you. when you get in the car the alcohol is evaporating off your clothes, not your breath.

sobering thoughts
July 06, 2012 at 1:53 am

Alcohol is not a part of festivities, and not everyone drinks. I am often the designated driver, and am included in many activities that I don't have to pay for, but for the fact that I will get my friends home safely...that is to say, not ending up in jail. I can also have 1 or 2 drinks and no more, over the course of several hours. Altered states can be fun, but if you cannot have fun without alcohol, you might want to rethink your relationship with booze.

July 06, 2012 at 1:52 am

Why bother. We have gone crazy over safety!

July 06, 2012 at 1:52 am

And it doesn't catch the passengers you have to blow in it

July 06, 2012 at 1:50 am

Come on people why is this new news they have doing this to DUI people for years ....lets all catch up

July 06, 2012 at 12:21 am

Now what happens when the driver is sober and the passengers are drunk.

July 05, 2012 at 11:35 pm

this device is already out there, it's called a baid. person cannot start the car without blowing in it, and if the baid detects alcohol it will not start. It will sut down.

July 05, 2012 at 11:14 am

This CONCEPT has a fatal flaw. If the driver should not notice the alcohol detection system, it MUST be detecting alcohol in the air. The system CAN'T know any alcohol in the air is from the driver, as apposed to a passenger. This makes using a designated driver difficult, at best. Whatever system is used to allow a sober driver to transport intoxicated passengers WILL effectively render the system worthless.