Forget about the self-driving car; get ready for the nanny car. Manufacturers are gearing up to install special ignition technology that will make it impossible for drunk drivers to operate their cars.
The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has unveiled two prototypes for its Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) tech that researchers have been developing since 2008, reports Engadget.
One involves a small breathalyser mounted either on the steering wheel or the driver-side door that can easily, automatically "smell" a driver's breath. The other is a touch sensor embedded in an ignition button or a gear shift that scans a driver's skin for Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). Both techniques are designed so the car cannot be operated if the driver exceeds the legal BAC, which is .08 across the nation.
The safety agency won't require car manufacturers to install the technology when it's ready, which might not be for up to another eight years. But some car companies are already working on similar devices of their own.
Nissan is developing an alcohol sensor is built into the transmission shift knob which is able to detect the presence of alcohol in the perspiration of the driver's palm. If the legal BAC is detected, the transmission is locked, immobilising the car.
In 2013 alone, 10,000 people were killed in alcohol-related car accidents in the US, which equates to one death every 50 minutes, according to federal statistics.