NTSB requires alcohol detection systems in all new vehicles • The Register

A National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) accident investigation has potentially far-reaching implications for the auto industry, as the board recommends equipping all new vehicles with technology that shuts off the engine when a drunk driver is behind the wheel.

The NTSB cited the serious effects of alcohol and speed on the Accident it investigatedadding that alcohol is involved in one in three fatalities on US roads and that accidents involving impaired driving have increased in recent years.

From this, the American authority concludes that it is time to install hardware in cars that uses breathing and touch to passively detect whether a driver is drunk and likely to be unsafe to drive, and take action if necessary – such as stopping or limiting the flow vehicle .

“We recommended that [the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration] The NHTSA requires all new vehicles to be equipped with passive in-vehicle alcohol detection systems, advanced driver monitoring systems, or a combination thereof,” the NTSB said.

DADSS to the rescue – slowly

NHTSA and the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety (ACTS) have worked to develop an alcohol detection system for drivers for safety reasons (DADSS) since 2008, when the couple founded the DADSS program.

Since then, the group has worked to develop the two passive alcohol detection systems mentioned above – breathing and touch – but so far progress has been slow. Per NTSB report [PDF]DADSS had planned to have a prototype in vehicles by 2013, but “neither the breath-based nor the touch-based systems have reached the stage where they can be evaluated against all DADSS specifications.”

The NTSB is also calling for the introduction of intelligent speed adaptation technology that would limit vehicle speed in certain circumstances, as well as driver monitoring technology that could detect drunk behavior behind the wheel.

To be clear, the NTSB requires and DADSS have developed alcohol disorder detection systems that differ from the technology currently found in vehicles. In cases of multiple DUI convictions, court orders may require that an active key ignition lock be installed in cars, forcing the operator to blow into a tube to check if the blood alcohol content (BAC) is below the legal limit before entering the vehicle starts.

Because DADSS’s new systems are passive, meaning the driver doesn’t have to do anything for them to work, there are several hurdles that both the program and NHTSA must overcome in order to make them roadworthy.

Breath-based detection uses spectrometry to measure the concentration of alcohol in a driver’s exhaled breath. DADSS standards require the system to be able to accurately detect BAC despite the presence of passengers, whether windows are open or not, as well as to accurately distinguish between mouthwash and other alcohol-containing products.

“Researchers have reported that the development team has identified a high-sensitivity passive breath alcohol detector, but it is not currently available in bulk quantities,” the NTSB said.

The Touch system also uses spectrometry to detect BAC based on the concentration of alcohol on a driver’s skin. NTSB said the sensors would be integrated into push-button ignitions on vehicles and would prevent the car from starting if the driver exceeded a predetermined BAC.

Touch-based systems also have a technical problem: DADSS struggle to scale them down enough to work in a vehicle without sacrificing accuracy, precision, and speed.

In its report, the NTSB said that NHTSA and ACTS believe a passive breath-based DADSS system will be ready for commercial licensing in 2024, meaning that “a passive breath-based system will most likely only be available for non-fleet passenger vehicles.” will be 2026.”

NTSB Chairwoman Jennifer Homendy said the accident that killed nine people that led to the NTSB’s push for anti-drunk driver technology should serve as a wake-up call to expedite the development and implementation of DADSS technology.

“Technology could have prevented this heartbreaking accident — just as it can prevent the tens of thousands of fatalities from driver-disabled and speeding accidents that we see annually in the United States,” said Homendy said. ®

https://www.theregister.com/2022/09/21/ntsb_calls_for_alcohol_detection/ NTSB requires alcohol detection systems in all new vehicles • The Register

Laura Coffey

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