Measures for preventing people from driving drunk might be taken to extreme levels in the near future, as a movement is taking place in the United States to have breathalyzers installed in every vehicle in America.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers are quietly leading this effort, which many people consider to be a major invasion of privacy. The technology would test a driver’s blood every time they get into their vehicle in order to determine their blood alcohol content (BAC).
The groups have started a five year agreement called Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS). The program is seeking to examine the feasibility of widespread alcohol level detection systems in cars, as well as the public challenges that would come about if such a requirement were to be implemented.
While the groups claim that the technology would be “non-invasive”, many people believe that any device that takes an individual’s BAC every time they use a vehicle they’ve purchased is precisely the definition of invasive.
It is unknown how exactly the proposed breathalyzers would function. Some believe that a system similar in nature to Interlock would be most effective. Interlock is best known as the breath system that DUI offenders are mandated to install into their cars. With this system, the vehicle cannot start until the driver breathes into the device, proving that they are not intoxicated.
The group is also considering less complicated equipment. One possible method might be sensors that are able to determine the alcohol level of the driver through their breath as they sit in the seat. Another method that is being discussed is a touch system that can detect alcohol levels through skin.
In such a scenario, police would theoretically be able to decrease their enforcement of DUIs, since people under the influence would supposedly be unable to start their vehicles, at least not without the assistance from someone who is not intoxicated. This would allow police to focus more on any driving action that violates road rules or causes an accident, rather than singling out people who are impaired on alcohol through methods such as DUI checkpoints.
Still, it’s difficult not to imagine the possibility as an invasion of privacy.