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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 2:50 pm

Question ! What if your passenger is drunk and it won't let the designated driver start the car? I agree with you all on the drunk's getting off the road,but what will this device cause in the way of expenses if it detects alcohol on the passenger but the driver is sober.
This story was poorly written no info on the great device ,another technology scam to sell china made bull$7it.
Yes get the drunks off the road they kill,But stop trying to sell junk technology to enrich the Chinese communist party.

July 06, 2012 at 2:33 pm

To Lisa as well I lost my daughter to a drunk driver so as far as I'm concerned they should put you dad in jail and throw away the key as for any idiot stupid enough to drink and drive.

July 06, 2012 at 10:39 am

When my friends and I go out, we take a cab to and from our destination. It's really not that much money because we all pitch in for the cab fare. This decision to take a cab is also much safer and cheaper than the dangers and costs associated with drunk driving.

Carlos Q
July 06, 2012 at 10:35 am

People be responsible for all your actions !! It's unfair ? to expensive ? I will not buy your car ? He lost his licence for 7 months ? YOU NEED TO QUIT DRINKING AND DRIVING ........... Bottom line . You need to talk with all the people who has been hit by a drunk driver or the families of the ones killed .And then talk abou unfair or expensive cost.

July 06, 2012 at 9:38 am

No offense to Lisa, but you are complaining because your dad was convicted of drunk driving and you are inconvenienced, because he caused an accident, destroyed his car, but now having to deal with smart start is somehow unreasonable. He is lucky to even have an opportunity to drive as far as I am concerned. As far as folks in NJ driving without a license? That should be a FELONY as far as I am concerned. Nobody has the right to put other driver's lives in danger. Driving is NOT a right.

July 06, 2012 at 9:27 am

the best device is....... its called self control..!!

July 06, 2012 at 9:19 am

there should be a certain set limit when enetering the car for you see if you and your family head out to a family party your mom has a glass of wine you have a beer and now whose driven home? the 5 year old in the back seat? ... were all doomed

July 06, 2012 at 8:55 am

They need to come up with something. My father has a smart start on his truck. He only has 50% lung compasity and he can not get it to turn on because he can't breath into it long enough to be abel to turn on. So I have to take him to do his errans now for the last past year and half now. He lost his licence for 7 months and had to have the smart start put on for 12 months. Which the cost of $150.00 to install and every month we have to drive 45 minutes away to have it down loaded, which cost $100.00 each month. Now include the fines a new vehical 13,000 cause his was demolished. Plus surcharges $100.000 a year for 3 years and his insurance to skyrocket. Most people could not even come close to be abel to afford it. So now there is probally alot of people driving without a licence. This is in New Jersey

July 06, 2012 at 6:04 am

What is you are a designated driver and one of your passengers happens to be drunk? Will the device be that sensitive that it will only detect alcohol from those in the driver's seat?

July 06, 2012 at 5:15 am

Put Them In, Ill never Drive Your Car Again, Or Buy One, Hey I Have A plan. Between The Red Light Cameras And Junk Like This , Its Cheaper Just To Walk, Get a Bike.