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Remote Breathalyzer

michael posted more than 13 years ago | from the what-you-gonna-do-when-they-come-for-you dept.

Technology 519

Foredecker writes: "I couldn't believe my eyes when I read an EE Times article about about remote breathalyzer technology developed by TCU. This device is apparently intended for installation in new cars. In essence, it is a sensor in your car which would signal any nearby police if you had been drinking."

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nerds have bad breath (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2262576)

enough said!

No more alcohol (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2262592)

Just came back from the doctor.

If I don't want to end up with the chirrosis of the liver, no more alcohol for me -- ever.

Goddamn life sucks!

Re:No more alcohol (-1)

l33t j03 (222209) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262687)

You should start smoking weed, or huffing gas, there's no chance of chirrosis with those.

Re:No more alcohol (-1)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262703)

I prefer sniffing model glue.

Re:No more alcohol (0)

stevenbee (227371) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262759)

Actually, huffing gas will destroy your liver even more swiftly and thoroughly than alcohol!

Re:nerds have bad breath (-1)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262612)

And so do you, thanks to goatse.cx.

Re:nerds have bad breath (-1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2262630)

cyborg_monkey puts the lotion on its skin, and does whatever it's told!

it rubs the lotion on its skin, or else it gets the Hose again!

Excuse me but... (2, Interesting)

analog-1 (133358) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262579)

Wouldn't it make just a little more *sense* for the sensor to disable the ignition or something?

Or do we just want our prisons to be that much overpopulated?

Re:Excuse me but... (1)

eXtro (258933) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262604)

Yeah, it would, but neither police departments or insurance would like this. Both of them make staggering profits from actually pulling people over who've broken the law. If people are prevented from breaking the law then they lose that source of income. What's a few lost lives compared to the tragic loss of money for cops and insurance companies?

Re:Excuse me but... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2262626)

Thank you mr paranoid-everyones-out-to-make-my-life-a-misery

Re:Excuse me but... (2, Insightful)

Kronus (513720) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262643)

Feeling cynical this morning? Insurance companies would love this gizmo. After all, they make money when you don't get in an accident. If your car never started they'd be in seventh heaven. And as for the cops, do they actually make any money when they pull people over? Whenver I've gotten a ticket, I've had to make the check out to the town, not the police department.

Re:Excuse me but... (1)

Fredge (186975) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262669)

And as for the cops, do they actually make any money when they pull people over? Whenver I've gotten a ticket, I've had to make the check out to the town, not the police department.

Yes, but a portion of the money tickets generate for the city goes back to the police in the form of equipment and gadgets for the police.

Re:Excuse me but... (1)

eXtro (258933) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262698)

First of all, insurance payouts aren't free. The insurance companies will on average get their money back. They do this by increasing your rates. I've never had an accident, but from what I understand they normally get back more than they gave out. Nothing wrong here, people should pay for their mistakes.


Second of all, there is huge money involved with people who are ticketed and fined. Get a ticket and your insurance rate goes up. There's no payout involved so this is pure profit for the insurance company.


Third, the town itself does collect the money, or more accurately the "billing department" for the town does the collection. The money then gets circulated around, a little bit for the town, a little bit for the cops and (usually) zero for public safety. In your version of the world I suppose that the town wouldn't even see any of the money, just the deparment in charge of accounts receivable, after all you don't write seperate checks for the police force, local government etc.

Re:Excuse me but... (3, Insightful)

Kenneth (43287) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262676)

Wouldn't it make just a little more *sense* for the sensor to disable the ignition or something?

Not really. I don't particular like this either, but disabling the ignition would make such things as designated drivers impossible as it would disable the ignition if SOMEONE ELSE in the car had been drinking as well.

Re:Excuse me but... (2, Insightful)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262758)

Ok, so i'm DD, and i STILL get pulled over b/c someone else in the car was drinking? Somehow i don't see how that would fly.

Re:Excuse me but... (1)

Hogbert (16729) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262712)

Excuse me too, but...

Disabling the car ain't such a good idea e.g. in the following scenario:
Me and my buddies are in the summer cottage in the middle of .... nowhere sipping happily moonshine.

Someone hits his foot with an axe while trying to cut wood into sauna stove and starts to bleed heavily.

Obvious solution: Use mobile phone to call up the ambulance ? Great, but if that is not a feasible solution for some reason or another, the wounded HAS to be taken to hospital.

Which is worse:
1) With the car disabled, my buddy bleeds to death ?
2) Carefully drive the minimun possible distance to reach medical facilities with buddy on the back seat ?

I know that I would choose "2".

Re:Excuse me but... (0)

Modeflip (161271) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262756)

Yes... that would make too much sense..

Why not... (3, Interesting)

maddogsparky (202296) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262581)

just disable the car if the driver's breath doesn't pass? That would be cheaper for them and the rest of us since we wouldn't have to pay the cost of the police processing and legal procedings, and they wouldn't drive in the first place and get a fine or jailtime.

Due process... (1)

Kronus (513720) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262666)

You can't take away someones right to drive without some sort of legal proceeding. At the very least, you need a cop to have 'justifiable cause', or something like that. After all, there may be a perfectly legitimate reason why the car reaks of booze, like you're rushing your overly drunk friend to the hospital to get his stomach pumped. You need a human in the equation somewhere to make the actual judgment call about whether the driver should actually be driving.

Re:Why not... (1)

vitamino (210402) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262680)

I think disabling the car would be a little drastic -- what if the sensor failed? Then you couldn't drive at all, until you got it fixed. And what if there was an emergency? I think that it would be much more helpful if there was a warning light on the dash (perhaps the silhouette of a martini glass) and perhaps a sound that informs the driver that the alcohol sensor has been tripped. That would give us consumers a good idea as to how reliable this technology is as well.


I think having a breathalyzer in the car is a good idea, because drunk driving is clearly a problem. But as soon as you start sending that information outside the vehicle where anyone can receive it, I feel it violates privacy issues. What else can be detected by analyzing air in the cabin? I like to eat quiche. Am I next?

Re:Why not... (-1)

Trollificus (253741) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262726)

When I'm pissed drunk and driving down the interstate, I could give fuck all about some homeless guy trying to cross the road, or that pesky oncoming traffic. What makes you think I'm going to give a damn about a little flashing martini glass on the dash?

Designated Driver ? (5, Insightful)

Tomun (144651) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262582)

More like it signals police if ANYONE in your car has been drinking.
What a really good idea.

worse than that (1)

maddogsparky (202296) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262597)

It sounds like it could trigger if sombody spilled a drink on you at a social gathering and nobody had even been drinking from your car.

Re:Designated Driver ? (2, Interesting)

Spotless Tiger (467911) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262598)

...ANYONE who is breathing, consistantly, all over the steering wheel perhaps.

Modern vehicles have fairly complex air circulation systems within their cabs, hence the ease with which driver and passenger can have different climate controls, and stuff.

I'm not saying it's a good or bad thing, the suggestions that the device disable the engine seem more reasonable to some extent, although I can see problems with that approach in emergencies, etc. But I doubt your suggestion of how it might fail is valid, and therefore a real reason to oppose it.

Re:Designated Driver ? (1)

eXtro (258933) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262608)

Some vehicles have complex circulation systems, but not everybody uses them. They're also not so complex that the air in the "non-drinking" portion of the car will be necessarily be free from alcohol vapours.

Take a drive in your car with its complex ventillation system. Give your buddies all the bean burritos they can eat, see how isolated your environment is from theirs when they've released a few sneaky but deadlies.

Re:complex air flows (2)

maddogsparky (202296) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262615)

My job is designing automotive climate controls. Some vehicles have a thermister in the dash (combined with a fan that sucks in air) to detect the temperature of the cabin. It works ok for a single zone, (everyone has to agree on one setting), but when there are multiple zones (driver, passenger, rear, etc) where each zone has its own control, it doesn't work very well. There is too much cross talk between the different zones of the car to consistently figure out the temperature in a given area.

Re:Designated Driver ? (2)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262743)

Still more efficient than stoping people at (mor or less) random, as is the case now.

And soon we will have... (2, Funny)

MoobY (207480) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262583)

... the web page that says "cut the red chord and the sensor is out of bussiness"

Hmmm... (4, Funny)

The Fast Choker (210010) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262585)

Could they put a detector in the car that tells the cops to bring a change of underwear for little kids on those too-long trips where they just can't hold it anymore?

Re:Hmmm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2262784)

If you need an electronic sensor to tell you this either your nose doesn't work or you don't have kids.

So I will drive with my windows open, NEXT (4, Insightful)

Shivetya (243324) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262586)

Gee, it seems very easy to defeat... let alone what if you have 3 very drunk friends in a closed window car?

As for those who would claim invasion or violation of Constitutional rights, uh, driving is a privledge, not a right. They can set arbitrary requirements up until the public throws them out.

Now, forcing this on people with at least one dui conviction would not be out of the question would it? Still the ease in fooling it kind of defeats the purpose.

built in breathalizers already exist (1)

maddogsparky (202296) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262636)

I've seen or heard a news story about courts requiring the installation of a breathalizer hooked up to a car for convicted offenders. Unfotunately, I don't remember which state is was.

Re:So I will drive with my windows open, NEXT (3, Insightful)

fhknack (104003) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262665)

The issue isn't whether driving is a privelege, rather whether the proactive search is legal. The 4th Amendment states "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

This ain't "probable cause," it's an invasion of one's person, and precisely the sort of thing the 4th Amendment is supposed to prohibit.

See me weaving, driving too slowly, chugging a beer behind the wheel, mowing over little old ladies with walkers, or rolling down the window so the drunk sixteen-year-old girl in the passenger seat can toss her cookies: That's probable cause. Driving through town with invisible vapors in my car is not.

Re:So I will drive with my windows open, NEXT (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262778)

Actually there are some that would say the ability to travel is a right using the common vechicle of the day.

At the very least, in the US you are pretty much screwed without a car unless you live right in a city. Anywhere else, and you're basically required to have a car.

A Problem (1)

Mik!tAAt (217976) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262593)

The article fails to mention that how can the sensor tell how many people are in the car, and how many of them are actually drunk? Because if the breathalyzer just measures the level of ethanol fumes inside the vehicle, you are bound to be stopped by a police when you are for example driving home from a party with your friends, who have been drinking.

Re:A Problem (-1)

l33t j03 (222209) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262705)

I assume the you in your sentence refers to me, as you have no friends, much less anyone to party with.

oh this is just fanTAStic. (3, Interesting)

Emil Muzz (211998) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262594)

So every time you hit the switch for the windshield washer and spray what, in many cases, is a fairly strong solution of ethanol onto your windshield - right by the ventilation system intakes in most cars by the way - this thingy signals to all police in range that you're having a 4-alarm kegger in your backseat?

That's not the only "innocent" source of ethanol vapours, either - there are plenty of things used in a car that could create them, and not to mention the fact that this better be one hell of a specific fuel cell to only detect ETHANOL vapours. From my chemistry days I seem to remember that fuel cells are quite versatile in their ability to catalyze not just the target reaction, but other similar reactions. Such as perhaps butyl alcohol or methyl alcohol, neither of which will get you drunk, but both of which are present in a lot of cleaning products...

Just what we need, really! Another "excuse" for cops (cough, cough, particularly southern cops) to pull us over because they don't like the little darwin-fishy on our car's backside...

Re:oh this is just fanTAStic. (1)

ZeLonewolf (197271) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262663)

This device would be installed by car manufacturers...don't you think they'd manufacture the car in such a way that the normal functions of the car won't trigger it?

Re:oh this is just fanTAStic. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2262772)

Ever hear of Ford? Explorer's are top heavy with bad tires. Windstar's wipers overheat and melt or burn. And there's a about a ten year period with dozens of Fords where the ignition might just turn your vehicle off.

How many people died before Ford recalled anything? Do you think they'll care if you get pulled over frequently? Just because they have a lot of money doesn't mean you should trust them.

And the difference from now is? (2)

Per Abrahamsen (1397) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262777)

Right now, they can stop you if they suspect you for drunk driving, with no real evidence at all.

If this system became common, they would need to stop less innocent people in order to catch the same number of drunk drivers.

What if you are the designated driver? (2, Interesting)

jon323456 (194737) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262596)

So the police pull you over because your friend is pumping out enough ethanol vapors to send the sensor into the stratosphere. Thats great. Is the plan just to never transport anyone who has been drinking?

I am however relieved I'll be able to drive around hyped up on crack in the future without having my car narc on me.

Re:What if you are the designated driver? (2)

joeboo (5182) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262644)

No kidding. If they install this, then you can't ever give your drunk friends a ride home. All this means is that people will find out where the sensor is, and disable it.

Re:What if you are the designated driver? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2262674)

So the police pull you over because your friend is pumping out enough ethanol vapors to send the sensor into the stratosphere. Thats great. Is the plan just to never transport anyone who has been drinking?

Be sensible. They can use this device as a way to detect possible drunk drivers with no intervention from the suspect. If they detect alcohol, they can give an official breath-a-lyzer test. If you're the designated driver, you have no worries.

This does not replace breath-a-lyzers, it enhances the process of getting drunks off of the road.

Re:What if you are the designated driver? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2262716)

Yeah, it tries to get drunks off the road by allowing more effecive harassment of the people who are driving drunk friends around or who had a single beer during lunch (=alcohol levels well below the limit).

It allows the cops to zero in on suspicious cars. It's like insisting that every apartment must have a cocaine detector in case the inhabitants use drugs.

windows... (-1)

helstar (172465) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262605)

wonder what happens if the windows are down. and then, what if i am picked up for drunk driving, because I have a drunk compatriot with me? guess they never heard of picking up a drunk roomate, or friend before.

here's a better idea (5, Interesting)

Ender Ryan (79406) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262606)

Just sell friggin breathalyzers to the general public so they can see for themselves if they're over the legal limit. Why do we need all the Big BrotherTM crap? How the hell is that supposed to help anything?

If you let people take responsibility for themselves you'd be surprised what you find. Most people I know who have ever been cited for DUI didn't realize they were over the legal limit.

Is there some type of breathalyzer available to the general public?

Re:here's a better idea (1)

Emil Muzz (211998) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262618)

Yeah, I think sharper image sells one, as do a number of random on-line retailers. Not exactly a high-popularity item, though - not too many people are really that thoughtful, and they cost at least a hundred bucks. Not to mention the fact that they need to be calibrated every so often. That could be another issue for in-car sensors? What of when they go out of whack?

Re:here's a better idea (1)

spyderbyte23 (96108) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262711)

Not exactly a high-popularity item, though - not too many people are really that thoughtful, and they cost at least a hundred bucks.

Yeah, see, that's really only a good investment if you're an alcoholic, I guess. Even then, I'm not sure I get the point...I'm a pretty enthusiastic drinker(probably not *quite* an alcoholic), and I've never had to wonder if I was drunk before. You just sort of know...

That could be another issue for in-car sensors? What of when they go out of whack?

Oh, I'm sure the wrongfully arrested person will be free to prove, at his own expense, that the sensors failed. If you like, you can just think of this as another way for rich people to beat DUIs. "My highly-paid expert can prove that my personal Breathalyzer had failed on that night, Your Honor."

Re:here's a better idea (1)

ath0mic (519762) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262634)

http://www.rvstuff.net/bt3500.html delevoped by PNI (couldn't seem to find thier page)

Re:here's a better idea (3, Interesting)

isa-kuruption (317695) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262645)

Because the liberals/socialists want to be the "big brother" of society... they don't believe in people taking responsibility for themselves. In fact, they probably believe people are too stupid to take responsibility for themselves.

There was a story here in NJ where a drunk fell over himself at a bar and sued the bar. Of course, the bar had insurance, and despite the fact it was the drunk's own fault, the bar was "guilty of serving alcohol to a guy who was already drunk." (or so the prosecution claimed). The case was settled out of court by the bar's insurance company, but it just goes to show that people just don't think other people are responsible enough for themselves.

But just notifying police as a drunk guy drives by seems kind of "too late" to me. If the user has to drive a mile before getting to a point where a cop is, then that's 1 mile the drunk driver could kill someone. A few years ago they were talking about putting these systems in cars of people convicted of prior DUI's. The premise was before they could turn the key, they'd have to blow into the breathalyzer and if you werent at or above the limit, it would allow you to start the car. This is probably a better solution.

This problem would also be solved if we had a better public transportation system in the U.S. If people relied more on public transportation than their own automobile to get around, we wouldn't have so many of these problems... but this is another subject altogether...

Re:here's a better idea (1)

spyderbyte23 (96108) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262688)

I think it's interesting that you disparage "liberals/socialists" in the first line of your post. First of all, the terms are not interchangeable. I am a socialist. Most of my friends are just liberals. You should be able to find an explanation of the difference in any good online dictionary.

As to your claim that socialists(like me) and liberals don't want people to make their own decisions, I don't think the US Democratic Party(which is what you think when you think "liberals/socialists," because of your incomplete understanding of that term) has any monopoly on government interference in personal life. Or did Dubya legalize pot and it just didn't make the news here?

I hope he did. I can't take much more of these artificially high prices.

But then the last line of your post is a call for public transportation! Guess what? Public services like that cost money. What are you, some kind of tax and spend liberal?

Re:here's a better idea (1)

Bobman1235 (191138) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262651)

Is there some type of breathalyzer available to the general public?

I've seen one in Brookstone for about a hundred bucks. Seems a little pricey, but if they have one for a hundred most likely you can find another one somewhere else for half that price. I don't know how reliable these things are, but...

Ooo, see, just did a Google search and found this [craigmedical.com] and this [keyringbreathalyzer.com] too. Do a little searching people, if you want these thigns they're out there for pretty cheap. 35 bucks or so.

Re:here's a better idea (1)

lay (519543) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262681)

Actualy, there is. I don't know what it's called, but at least here in Portugal they were planning on putting on the market some disposable breathalyzers. You'd just use them once and throw them away, and eve though their accuracy is not top-level, you can get a pretty good idea if you've drank over the legal limits. They're suposed to be cheap and available in gas stations. Pretty good, if you ask me. At least takes care of the mental excuse for drinking that extra 'ilegal' beer because you "don't know if you've gone too far already".

Re:here's a better idea (1)

spyderbyte23 (96108) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262742)

Just sell friggin breathalyzers to the general public so they can see for themselves if they're over the legal limit.

Do people really have that hard a time telling if they're drunk? I always know right away. Of course, I've had years of practice in recognizing the state...

I don't have any source at all on this, but here's an anecdote for you:

A few years back, I read about a bar that had had liability problems based on people driving home from it while intoxicated. The owner bought a Breathalyzer wall unit, just like those things that take your blood pressure or try to predict what a red-hot lover you are. He encouraged people to use it before leaving the bar, and taped the number of the local taxi company(just one, a small town) up on the wall next to it.

Then, a couple of months after that, he took the unit back out. His patrons would order trays of shots, then sit around the machine trying to see how high they could "score."

Re:here's a better idea (2)

UM_Maverick (16890) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262748)

giving breathalyzers to the general public is typically a very, very bad idea. Instead of using them to make sure they're safe to drive, people tend to use them to see just how drunk they can get...I've seen many a college student push a few too many tequilla shots down in an attempt to get "officially drunker" than his buddies...

trust me, it gets messy.

Alternate Solution? (1)

ath0mic (519762) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262609)

I would think it would make more sense to use the senor technology to allow/deny use of the vehicle entirely. The current solution requires police to be present and detect the signal sent out by the "breathalyzer" and this has obvious shortcomings. I would think that it would be better to have the driver's blood/alcohol content grant or deny operation of the vehicle by connecting some simple device to the ignition. (On a side note, I would love to "test" out these devices) Just my $0.02

Insurance company? (1)

sjpm (30128) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262613)

How about this is installed on a voluntary basis? Tell your insurance about it and get a lower premium. Sounds like a much better idea than forcing it on people.

I'm willing to bet that given the location of the sensor, and some duct tape it is quite easy to defeat as well.

What if your significant other (who had a bit too much to drink) is sleeping it off on your shoulder? You telling me the sensor can tell the difference? If so I am very impressed. Combine this with some local PD that goes in a little too heavy handed when they get that sensor notification and I see some people winning the litigation lottery.

As always, vote with your wallet, if you don't like the idea of this, don't buy a car that has it.

Re:Insurance company? (2)

radja (58949) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262661)

a dutch insurance company is (going to?) offer this for speeding. get a gps installed, and you pay a whole lot less, unless you actually do speed. this is NOT related in any way to speed-tickets..

//rdj

Transmits "other information" as well... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2262614)

What's to stop them from transmitting your speed and license plate number as well? Automated speeding ticket robots anyone?

Keep saying to yourself, "There is no such thing as Big Brother."

speeding cameras ready to implement in wash dc (1)

YaRness (237159) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262695)

read the story here [washingtonpost.com]

they had about 5 police cruisers carrying these camera/radar guns, and one stationary one at a street corner.

just like red light cameras that have been in use for a couple years or so.

Re:Transmits "other information" as well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2262746)

When you are driving a car you are using a deadly weapon in a crowded public place.

The government therefore imposes restrictions, including traffic laws, speed limits, licences and qualifications upon anyone who wishes to do this. This seems reasonable to me. What is the point in having speed laws and then claiming they should not be enforced?

In the future maybe the government will ban anyone from driving a car on manual, rather than letting the safety computer drive it for them, on a public road (or at least a busy one). If it means less deaths, I'm for it.

(Also means you wouldn't need a designated driver).

Re:Transmits "other information" as well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2262776)


We already have this. A car rental place in New Haven CT is 'fining' renters whose GPS device shows trhat they are speeding more than 80 MPH.

Every citizen should be kept under surveillance! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2262617)

Looks like we're really on a slippery slope towards a society where we are under automated surveillance for 24 hours a day.

Following this logic, cameras should be placed in every apartment.Every citizen should be under surveillance because the statistics show that all crime is due the people who are alive and not dead.

Fuck this! If this becomes a standard feature in all cars, I'll either disable it (criminal or not) or won't buy new cars anymore.

Again the majority must give up all the privacy because of a small minority who find it too hard not to drink while driving.

Re:Every citizen should be kept under surveillance (1)

mikewas (119762) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262706)

London is already blanketted with security cameras. Most are linked to private firms, hired by local buusiness or civic organizations. If they notice a problem they call the cops and supply the tapes as evidence.

When driving drunk becomes a crime... (5, Funny)

Sunken Kursk (518450) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262624)

only criminals will drive drunk.

Wait.

Never mind. I thought I had something insightful.

This is ridiculous (1)

Uttles (324447) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262631)

Talk about invasion of privacy! The real problem with this remote breathalizer is that if you go to the bar and have a drink or two you might pop up as drunk, but your blood level would be well below the limit. Then the cops get to pull you over and have fun hassling you just because you had a drink after work... I don't like it.

Party School? (5, Funny)

small_dick (127697) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262633)

Something tells me TCU is not going to make the "Top Ten Party Schools" list anytime soon.

Like the radar gun, this is a good idea. (0)

N3P1u5U17r4 (457760) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262640)

Notice that it will be used the same as a radar gun, as in it will help the police pull people over who are more likely to be drunk rather than just doing random checks.
So if you have friends drinking in the car you might get pulled over and may have further tests administered and that is not so bad.
I don't think this technology in itself would be used to lay charges, it is just a way to flag a car for further interogation.

or.... (2)

ragnar (3268) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262641)

Or it will tell you if a passenger in the car has been drinking, which (last time I checked) isn't against the law.


I'm really of two minds on this subject. Personally, I think that drunk driving costs way too many lives and is penalized too lightly. Just imagine if car crimes were treated like gun crimes. We really shouldn't treat car abuse so differently, given the vast amount of death and harm that results from drunk driving.


That said, I doubt if the suggested change will make people more safe, and it certainly isn't lawful to report to the police if a passenger chose to drink alcohol.

Re:or.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2262672)

Personally, I think that drunk driving costs way too many lives and is penalized too lightly.

This is ridiculous. The number of people getting killed by drunk drivers per year is insignificant when compared to the number of people killed by malaria, AIDS and other infectious diseases.

I don't like drunk drivers, but I sure as hell defend their right to make stupid decisions. Having Big Brother's camera/brethalyser/whatever up your ass just in order to stop you from acting stupidly is totalitarism.

Being free also means that you are allowed to do stupid things!

Driver vs. Passenger (2, Insightful)

devnullkac (223246) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262647)

With an operating range of 18 inches, this technology might not trigger false positives from drunk passengers in taxicabs, but I don't know if I'd want to be the designated driver for my rowdy friends who say "Hey watch this!" and lean over to breathe on my car's sensors, bringing the wrath of the state police.

MAD and similar groups would be well advised to consider this chilling effect before advocating the use of such devices.

Re:Driver vs. Passenger (1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262773)

Don't be fooled, this is the sort of thing that MADD would love! Contrary to what their acronym implies, MADD is out to criminalize anyone who's had a drink, whether they are over the legal limit and/or driving or not.

It's these kinds of small infractions on our personal freedom that serve as stepping stones to more severe and widespread violations of our rights. In a few years, MADD will be pushing for an outright ban of alcoholic beverages, and because of their "it's for the children" image, I fear they may get what they want at the expense of yet another personal liberty.

Problems (2)

Uruk (4907) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262649)

What if you spill some wine on your seat? Are you going to be officially drunk when driving for the next 2 weeks?

How on earth would this work? This would be hooked to a transmitter inside the car. Wouldn't this be the very first modification a person would make to their car would be to rip this friggin' thing out?

What if someone else in the car is drinking? The pigs pull you, and you have to "audition for your freedom"?

What's the range on the transmitters? Rather than getting the pigs all over you, why not just make other cars able to receive it so people could stay the hell away from you?

Why does it NOT suprise me that this is coming out of Texas Christian University and not, say, MIT?

Public safety threat or no, is it a good precedent to make it OK for the pigs to know about the state of your body at all times?

Re:Problems (2)

pgpckt (312866) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262677)

Why does it NOT suprise me that this is coming out of Texas Christian University and not, say, MIT?

That has got to be one of the most bigoted things I have heard said on slashdot. What are you trying to imply? That all Christian universities are incappible of providing scientific research? Heaven forbid (pun intended) that Christian schools try to help the community by developing a solution to one of society's ills.

Re:Problems (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2262733)

Christian schools try to help the community by developing a solution to one of society's ills.

Ah, so that's where all those "you can become a heterosexual too" programs come.

Christianity and science cannot co-exist. Christianity is fundamentally anti-intellectual and anti-science because instead of the nature it worships some never-seen-never-heard-about god. Anybody who claims otherwise is just fooling himself.

Now, what could one expect.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2262650)

This is another crazy idea from Texas, and on top of that a Christian University (we all know they're not hip to having fun) and on top of that, they're just sore about the whole Charles Whitman inncident.

False Positives on Demand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2262652)

How long before units that send false positives identifying the car in front start appearing.

And why bother with the drunk drive test, just fit brake/steering monitors to rate the drivers reactions and general driving. If it appears the driver is incapacitated in some way, then it could start alerting nearby cops.

What'd be better... (0, Offtopic)

vulg4r_m0nk (304652) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262655)

is a breathalyzer that disables email.

We won't have to wait long... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2262658)

...for this to be compulsory in the UK. It seems that the entire Western world is in the middle of some kind of social engineering experiment.

Drinking and Driving is a stupid and dangerous thing to do, but relying on a system like this which is prone to error is almost as bad. You only look as far as the new UK Police obsession with speed cameras to see what will happen - I believe they tried to book a tractor the other week for doing 85mph on a motorway. They only dropped the fine and penalty points for the poor farmer in question when a tabloid newspaper intervened. What is the world coming to?!

Re:We won't have to wait long... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2262761)

It goes like this:

1) Today's technology can make every wet dream of a control freak law enforcer real.

2) Cops are delighted.

3) Cops are also mostly tech illiterate, don't know the limitations of the surveillance technology. In fact, most of them will see the technology as some kind of magic. Magic that's never wrong.

4) Since the magic says that the tractor did 85 mph, it must be true. Yeah, it sounds implausible at first but then again this technology is just so marvellous. Without it we would never catch all this crooks.

Can I get... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2262668)

Can I get a little thing that, when attached to my head, will alert nearby police if I even think of committing a crime? Can I, please?

dmca (1)

smeeze (67566) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262670)

this calls for the Drinking Millenium Copyright Act. Getting drunk takes a lot of energy and should therefore be copyrighted and not for the police to use as information to take whenever they want.

Ha. (1)

mlknowle (175506) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262675)

If the governemnt required installing these, would there be a sudden run on foreign cars?

The tone of the article is that this is some fantastic development. They don't even CONSIDER the privacy issues.

I hope that the Texas Christians get busted for driving after communion ;-)

Duct tape is your friend (1)

rkasper (114894) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262691)

If you find the air inputs and cover them with duct tape, you'll never be drunk again.

BigBrotherLand2000 (4, Insightful)

SubtleNuance (184325) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262693)

Seems like no better a time to repeat:

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. "
- Ben Franklin

Re:BigBrotherLand2000 (2)

Surak (18578) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262765)

This particular quote is typically used in response to the question of gun control laws (well, and probably many other things considering it was often used saying during the Revolutionary period), but it seems somehow appropriate here too. :-)

Can't you just open a window? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2262699)

That would tend to reduce the concentration

can you say... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2262701)

...after market modification?

Scotch tape (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2262702)

1. Get a roll of scotch tape ($0.79, WalMart).
2. Apply patch to sensor.
3. Drive happily ever after.

Stephen King, author, dead at 54 (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2262715)


I just heard some sad news on talk radio - Horror/Sci Fi writer Stephen King was found dead in his Maine home this morning. There weren't any more details. I'm sure everyone in the Slashdot community will miss him - even if you didn't enjoy his work, there's no denying his contributions to popular culture. Truly an American icon.

Can you imagine... (0, Funny)

Trollificus (253741) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262719)

...a beowu... Oh, shut the fuck up!

What would be better is... (1)

Subliminal Fusion (253246) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262727)

Why not just install these on cars of known offenders? Make them breathe into a device that doesn't let the car start if they don't pass. I know these exist, but they're not used very much. I'd say one offence would be enough and the offender should pay the cost of the installation. There's absolutley no reason for car makers to install them on every car made. I personally wouldn't want to pay the extra $ for something that doesn't apply to me (as I don't drink). It's true that a system like that would be defeatable but that would take 2 stupid people (one being sober and stupid, which is a more rare condition than being drunk and stupid).

I personally think that the government shouldn't do a whole lot to prevent people from doing stupid things that harm themselves, but when their actions affect those around them it becomes a different story.

Maybe, maybe not (2, Insightful)

hylander_sb (181045) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262730)

This idea in and of itself is not bad, so long as its optional. I suppose there are a few people out there who don't trust themselves and would rather have a police officer catch them then be responsible for a death. Once this becomes mandated by government, that would be bad.

I, for one, would prefer that the police actually do their job. Increasingly, the police are using automated devices to do their policing. It started with radar/vascar/lasers and now we have red light/speed cameras. They don't even have to be present for you to get slapped with a traffic tax. Shouldn't the issue be more about whether you are operating the vehicle safely as opposed to how much of a chemical you've ingested? MD's legal limit just dropped to .08. How can we be sure that no one can safely operate a vehicle at that level? One of the cornerstones of law enforcement is the discretionary power of an officer. Taking that away will go a long way towards creating a Big Brother society

Broken Link (1)

Spunk (83964) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262741)

The link to this story appears to be broken. Does anyone have it archived?

Thanks!

Convicted oui repeat offenders (0)

thinserver (447303) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262754)

This might be appropriate as ordered by the court for repeat oui offenders. How many times has one of these sometimes unfortunate addicts killed someone, even after having their ticket pulled.

As for the tape idea, a flow sensor that detects an obstruction...., but then, a rubber tube hung out the window...

best solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2262755)

the best thing you could do:
have the ignition lock quickly moving around in a figure of eight. only the sober people would be quick enough to catch it, and get the key in :o)

A Marketer's Dream (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2262763)

Hmmm. Let's see. Here is our new model which will notify the police if you drive drunk, speed, drive eraticly, .... and costs $500 more than our other model which is just a car.

Which one would you buy?

The car buying public will make the decision if this technology gets deployed. IMHO it does not have a prayer.

Further development (2, Funny)

S.I.O. (180787) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262766)

TCU is already working on a new device which can detect blowjobs in the car. If the owner of the car is a politician, the warning signal automatically gets redirected to Washington Post and Time Warner.

legal issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 13 years ago | (#2262774)

lesse.. they just determined that using IR cameras to spot possible probably marijuanna grow ligths is illegal.

Does this fall under illegal search?

Since drunk driving usuaully involves the vehicle being impounded, why not go ahead and have the device notify more than the police?

With this technology, we could actually license it to other companies. Why just broadcast to the police? Lets open this up to private industry!!!!

Upon detecting possible violations of the 'legal limit', I feel the device should notify:

1) the police
2) your lawyer
3) towing company of your choice
(your car is gonna get towed. be sure its someone you trust)

gob of caulk (2, Insightful)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 13 years ago | (#2262781)

It's cliche but it's true:

Remote DUI sensor: $100.

DUI accusation: thousands of dollars in legal fees and fines.

Gob of caulk in the intake hose: priceless.

Yes, there ought to be breathalyzers built into cars, at least if we're going to prosecute drunk drivers based on BAC - there's something fundamentally wrong when you can't know whether or not you're violating the law without taking extraordinary steps. But no way in hell should it be transmitting readings.

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