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Students develop system to prevent drunk driving

autos Updated: Apr 23, 2015 15:27 IST
drunk driving


If you've been drinking, you won't get far with AlcoStop, the automotive safety system designed by a group of students at the Institute of Technology of Cintalapa in Mexico.

Unlike other devices of its kind, it doesn't require puffing into a Breathalyzer device.

Instead, sensors inlaid in the steering wheel, shift lever and seat -- all capable of detecting the blood alcohol level of the person holding it -- will disable the car if need be.

The system includes a GPS tracking unit that allows for real time monitoring of the car's location should the would-be driver be too confused to explain where he is.

In case the car is disabled, an accompanying application alerts family or friends to go and pick up the driver, displaying the location communicated by the GPS.

"We have had invitations from the Secretary of Transit from the Chiapas state government to implement our system, but the project is still under investigation," says team member Karla Sanchez, noting that the sensors need to be refined to accommodate people who don't perspire as much as others.

Sanchez and her team say they will be finished at the end of 2015 at which point they hope to commercialize the project, which has already received a regional award in the 2014 National Technological Innovation Contest.

The team says the high incidence of auto accidents in Mexico involving alcohol inspired them to create the system.

Every year, 77 thousand car accidents involving alcohol occur, the equivalent to four cases per hour, according to the National Institute of Statistics, Geography and Informatics (INEGI).

Currently, most available solutions for combatting drunk driving won't turn your car off and rely on the driver's will to use them and make a responsible decision based on the reading.

They do, however, encourage responsibility by including push-button cab service such as the newest device from Breathometer -- called Breeze -- does.

It's small enough to fit in a pocket and comes with a keychain for added convenience.

Like its predecessor, the Original Breathometer, Breeze's main feature is called "Back to Zero" and it eliminates the guesswork of whether or not you should abandon your car and call a cab.

To make the time spent waiting to sober up more enjoyable -- and perhaps to ease the impending hangover -- it offers restaurant locations and even hotel reservations and will connect you to a pre-selected contact in your smartphone who could be willing to pick you up.