MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Almost 40% of traffic deaths over Memorial Day weekend involve alcohol. But now a technology supported by big automakers promises to stop drunk driving before it begins by adding breath sensors in a new car.
“We watched all of his veins turn blue because of lack of oxygen in his body, and my hands were on his chest just because I wanted to feel his heart until it stopped altogether,” said Patricia Kimmel, recalling the moment her son Steven died.
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T-boned in 2018 by a drunk driver, Steven Kimmel’s car flipped three times before ejecting him. It was the other driver’s third drunk-driving arrest.
A promising new technology more than a decade and $100 million in the making is aimed at preventing such accidents.
Robert Strassburger is leading a group of over a dozen top car makers in joining forces with Mothers Against Drunk Driving to back “DADSS” – the “Driver Alcohol Detection System For Safety.”
The sensor can detect the blood alcohol content on your breath, all in a matter of seconds. If it’s above the legal limit – 0.08% – the car won’t start.
James River Transportation in Richmond has been on the road testing this technology for two years.
“This technology actually provides us that extra benefit of knowing that our drivers are going to be safe with no alcohol in their system,” said Stephen Story, president of James River Transportation.
The tech is being made available for open source technology this fall, so it could turn up in cars and trucks sometime soon.
The hope is that this may one day be an added safety feature you can add on to a new car you buy at the dealership. So parents, for example, could have this to make sure their teenage drivers don’t drive with alcohol in their system.
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Since each of us processes alcohol differently, the makers are calibrating this technology to account for differing driver weights, mask wearing and even attempts to trick the system.