Nanotechnology Could End Drunk Driving


A blue-ribbon panel in the US has been considering the use of nanosensor-enabled interlock devices installed in the steering wheels of automobiles that would detect the blood/alcohol level of the driver and turn off the ignition if the driver was over the legal alcohol limit.

This scenario seems to be taken seriously in Canada as evidenced by this article.

Interlock devices are not new. But these devices represent the old-generation technology (see photo above) where a driver has to blow in a tubeâ''seemingly a far more voluntary procedure.

Still the ratio of these installed interlock devices to drunk driving convictions in Canada at least is pretty poor, with 11,000 interlocks in cars in Canada today but 90,000 drunk driving convictions a year.

Putting aside all the privacy issues that some will argue against such a technology, it is not clear how close such a nano-enabled interlock device is to being realized.

Of course, if governments start to pass legislation that this technology needs to be installed in cars by a certain date, you can be sure that industry will in a rush to commercialize something.

It should all become interesting if it does come to pass as civil libertarians will be in a pitch battle with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).


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