In 2004, there were 16,694 alcohol-related fatalities reported, equal to one alcohol-related fatality every 31 minutes and representing 39% of the total traffic fatalities for the year. As of that same year, every State and the District of Columbia had created laws making it illegal to drive with a BAC of .08 g/dL or higher.
While traditional solutions to reduce the number of alcohol-related crashes have been effective, new approaches are needed to make additional reductions in this type of crash. These include various applications of vehicle-based technologies to prevent alcohol-impaired drivers from driving. Technologies that might be used in these applications include advanced, non-intrusive BAC detection and driving impairment detection.
Advanced Alcohol Detection Technology Study:
The goal of this multi-year study is to develop alcohol detection technologies that are less intrusive than existing ignition interlocks with the hope of greater public acceptance for installation in vehicles. Technologies that are integrated into vehicles and relatively transparent to drivers may hold the greatest promise for widespread deployment. Towards this goal, the study will support the development and testing of prototypes and subsequent hardware that may be installed in vehicles.
Using the National Advanced Driving Simulator to Identify Driver Performance Indicators of Impairment:
The goal of this study is to identify how impairment influences driving performance to identify reliable, feasible, and robust means of detecting impairment in real time by appropriate vehicle-based sensors, and to determine what is the reliability and accuracy of the measures.
Review of Alcohol Prevention Technologies:
This project reviewed technology alternatives to detect driver blood alcohol concentration and alcohol-impaired driving. The technologies included tissue spectroscopy, ethanol vapor detectors, and ocular measures. Taking an international perspective, the project report references relevant literature, incorporates input from stakeholders, and includes a concept of operations to describe how to implement technology-based countermeasures that addresses concerns such as privacy, public acceptance, and legal issues.
- Vehicle Technologies to Prevent Crashes Involving Alcohol-Impaired Drivers (Presentation)
- Pollard J. K., Nadler E. D, and Stearns M.D. (2007). Review of Technology to Prevent Alcohol-Impaired Crashes. DOT HS 810 827
- Lee, J.D., Fiorentino, D., Reyes, M.L., Brown, T.L., Ahmad, O., Fell, J., Ward, N., Dufour R.; (2010) Assessing the Feasibility of Vehicle-Based Sensors to Detect Alcohol Impairment DOT HS 811 358
- Appendices to DOT HS 811358