Australian automotive distributors and manufacturers may be forced to offer vehicles for sale with a built in alcohol-detection system after both the US and UK Governments said that they were currently reviewing new technology that prevents a car from starting if alcohol is detected.According to the Australian Office of Transport Security Australian officials are keen to review a new interlock system that was developed by scientists to instantly gauge whether a motorist is capable of driving after drinking alcohol.
The device from QinetiQ uses a sensor to analyse a driver’s breath – without the need for a breathalyser device.
One method measures blood alcohol levels when a driver’s hand is placed on either a steering wheel or door lock.
Should a driver be over the limit the car’s engine will not start?
Developed in the US the technology was shown this week to U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood who visited QinetiQ for the first public demonstration of the system.
A spokesperson for the Australian Transport Safety Authority said that the device sounds “very interesting and well worth exploring”.
The technology is ‘another arrow in our automotive safety quiver’, said Mr LaHood, who emphasised the system, was envisioned as optional equipment in future cars and voluntary for U.S. car manufacturers.
Both the breath and skin tests would eliminate the need for drivers to take any extra steps, and those who are sober would not be delayed in getting on the road, researchers said.