How New Technology May Change the Approach to DUI
In the coming years, new technology will change how law enforcement and drivers approach Driving Under the Influence (DUI). These new inventions could give drivers the ability to better monitor their intoxication level, vehicles with the ability to prevent driving for those who have overindulged, and give law enforcement officers new tools to help quickly detect intoxicated drivers and get them off the road safely. Here, we will look at some of these new technologies and how they could change DUI prevention.
Technology to Help with Sobriety Determination
While a driver may feel sober after having one or two drinks at a bar, it does not necessarily mean he or she is by law. Many companies have already launched breathalyzer tests that can be used by consumers that work with their cell phone or tablet to help them determine their Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) before getting behind the wheel. While there are some studies that are questioning the reliability of these devices, it is almost certain that home-breathalyzer devices will get better over time.
Carrying around a breathalyzer while out drinking may not be the most convenient way to monitor BAC, but scientists at the University of California, San Diego are working on an experimental sensor that comes in the form of a temporary tattoo that could help monitor BAC through the user’s sweat. The tattoo features a sensor that sticks to the skin to induce perspiration, and a flexible electronic circuit is connected to the tattoo. The person’s BAC is transmitted via a Bluetooth connection.
Technology to Improve DUI Detection
As mentioned, engineers are working on a vehicle with a built-in DUI detection system, and consumers will want to take advantage of that technology since law enforcement officers are getting an upgrade in their DUI detection as well. A powerful laser was developed in 2014 that could allow law enforcement officers to detect alcohol vapors in a vehicle from up to 65 feet away. Scientists are currently working to upgrade this technology to be practical for field use for law enforcement.
Ideally, law enforcement would be able to use the laser while sitting on the side of the road and shining the beam into passing vehicles. While the laser would not determine BAC, it may be a useful tool in identifying vehicles they will want to take a closer look at. The laser beam does need some work, however – scientists are looking to find ways for the laser to distinguish between alcohol vapors put off by the driver versus by the vehicle’s passengers and how it would work with car windows open.
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