Cars Will Soon Know if You're Too Drunk to Drive

By James O Malley on at

Cars of the future could prevent you from switching on the engine if you're over the legal alcohol limit, researchers have announced.

The American National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has shown off a prototype of a new system that has been in development since 2008. There's two different devices that are being researched: a breathalyser-based system which will detect your breath via the steering wheel, and a finger-print reader that will detect your blood-alcohol content.

The technology is apparently sophisticated enough to figure out exactly how pissed you are. This means it doesn't just know if you're over the legal limit, but could also be used to stop teenagers driving if they have consumed a single drop of alcohol.

The suggestion is that if trials are successful and prove reliable, it could be rolled out further, as the research is being conducted in association with Detroit's "Big Three" car companies: Ford, GM and Chrysler.

The American agency has said that it has no plans to require drivers to have the technology in their cars. It has been suggested that, though, it could conceivably be introduced through fleet vehicles, such as big companies or government agencies that don't want their employees to be drunk at the wheel.

It is also not a stretch to far of the imagination to see insurance companies taking an interest in the technology. We wouldn't be surprised if in a few years you have to take a breath-test in order to cut down the cost of your premiums.

[Detroit News via Engadget]