Despite the relentless efforts of governments around the world, drink-driving remains one of the greatest causes of road fatalities. Now, however, new technology could prevent intoxicated drivers from starting their cars in the first place.
The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been working in collaboration with a number of car manufacturers, including industry giants Ford, General Motors and Volkswagen, to create an alcohol detection system that can be integrated into vehicles.
Using a combination of breathalyser and infrared light technology, the kit can accurately detect if a driver has consumed alcohol and will not allow them to start the engine if they are over the prescribed limit.
Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx was quoted by the Guardian as saying: "Education, awareness and enforcement have succeeded in dramatically reducing drunk driving fatalities, but the advanced technology brings enormous potential to save even more lives."
So-called 'alco-lock' devices have been available as a third-party accessory for some time, and usually involve a breathalyser-style device being wired into the car's ignition. Now, however, it is expected that this new integrated technology could be made available as an optional extra on new cars within five years.