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Steering Wheel Checks Alcohol Consumption

CmdrTaco posted more than 8 years ago | from the holiday-weekends-are-lethal dept.

Technology 436

karvind writes "According to washingtonpost, Inventor Dennis Bellehumeur has made a $600 sensor that can be installed in a steering wheel or in gloves and will test a driver's skin to determine alcohol consumption. Bellehumeur, a real estate agent and deli owner in Wilton Manors, spent 12 years developing his sensor after his then-teenage son crashed into a utility pole while driving drunk and suffered minor brain damage. He received a patent this month and the sensor should complete testing this year."

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436 comments

The Obvious (2, Insightful)

fembots (753724) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678724)

Drunken driving accidents increase in winter because every senselessly drunken teenager not properly educated by their parents will be wearing branded non-sensored gloves.

And will the car come to a stop if a person only starts drinking (and got drunk) after the car's moving?

And will those drunken teenagers just steal some non-sensored cars which they're not familar to drive with?

I think this "invention" is as good as the censorship card on cable TV, or that running shoes that power the TV. However the only "reactive invention" that I would like to see is a law punishing parents who cannot educate, manner, guide and monitor their children.

If I had to go to jail when my kid killed someone under the influence, I would have had one kid instead of five, and spent more time on that one kid. If I can't afford the time, maybe I am not qualified to have kids at all?

Actually while we are at it, maybe XBox 361 or PS4 can have a built-in features where parents create home work and children must complete them to get to the game?

Re:The Obvious (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12678743)

Having a light on your dashboard telling you that you're objectively too drunk to drive will probably help reduce drunk driving for rational people who overestimate their limits.

Re:The Obvious (5, Interesting)

downsize (551098) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678876)

this is true.

we had a big new years party 4 or 5 years ago and we bought a breathalizer so people could see what they would blow.

we used it for fun and gags, but ultimately, at the end, it saved people's lives (perhaps) and possibly even a few DUIs. towards the end of the party as the ones standing started to leave, they would blow and everyone that was over the legal limit called a taxi or worked out a ride with someone well under the legal limit.

but this device is not the savior to teen drunk driving (which sounds like the reasoning behind the invention) - although it may cut down some incidents by 20% or so.

bottom line, you just can't prevent people from being stupid - and it's not funny because most of the time it means the loss of life of another instead of the stupid one that caused it.

Rational Thought (2, Insightful)

Renegrade (698801) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678883)

Here's a rational thought:

One shot of hard alcohol = one wineglass of wine = one bottle of beer = one FULL hour not driving.

Or if math is too hard:

I've been drinking alcohol tonight. It does not matter how much, I will not be the driver.

Or if an obsessive-compulsive "drinking and gadgets" disorder is present in the person:

There's fifty thousand different types of alcohol analyzers out there that you can buy already. Buy one.

Re:The Obvious (1)

Hangtime (19526) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678892)

Kudos poster, excellent idea! Doesn't inhibit the car from moving but does act as a warning to the driver.

Re:The Obvious (4, Insightful)

shawn(at)fsu (447153) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678765)

Don't you ever get tired of looking for ways to blame the parents. You do realize that no matter how much you try to educate someone there is always the possibility that no matter what they will end up doing exactly what you told them not to. Children make mistakes and the law does provide for punishment of the parents for their children's actions. This guy goes out and makes a tool that might be able to help the situation and you jump all over it. It does have uses beyond teenage drunk drives you know that right. It could be installed at the request of a judge after an ADULT gets convicted of DUI. Hell I could go out and buy one just in case I don't trust my own opinion of whether or not I'm drunk. It doesn't have to be just a tool for lazy parenting as you like to make it sound.
For the record I don't think it's lazy parenting, I think it's giving more tools to help parents. As Ronald Regan said "trust but verify"

Re:The Obvious (1)

fbjon (692006) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678802)

Yes, what the hell are you all talking about kids for. Kids can be educated by their parents. This things is meant for ADULTS. Kids are usually not alcoholics who drink 50% of their time, while still carrying a driver's license.

Re:The Obvious (2, Interesting)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678860)

The problem with DUIs are like anything punishment is neither swift nor sure. Its not possible to have swift and sure punishment in a free society either. You have to make up for that by where appropriate using suffcient threat as a deterant. DUIs are a good example because breaking that law endangers outhers not just you. DUIs place others in real danger too not some long shacky chain of events that cup of coffee you served me in that plastic cup 20 years ago gave me cancer, but I am dead because you crushed me under 3500lb steel crate while I was mowing my lawn kind of danger. Rather then fool around with this kinda crap we should just make a SINGLE DUI conviction CERTAIN YOU WILL NOT DRIVE AGAIN FOR AT LEAST A COUPLE OF YEARS or else you will be JAILED. Yes people can walk to a bus stop and ride that to work. Naturally you have to do something about not letting judges and prosecutors let people pleed to some other charge in a bargin, like over the line or wreckless operation or something. This might have another positive effect. People might decide while sober to not get as drunk lest they decide to drive drunk. There is way to much drinking to excess in our society today. Anything that can cut down on that is a good thing.

Re:The Obvious (1, Interesting)

Saven Marek (739395) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678823)

I see a problem with this. The amount of alcohol stopping a person from driving sensibly varies so much. I know I can go double the legal limit before I am impaired and many others are the same.

So why shouldn't we be able to drive then? It's causing unfair restrainment in a product we own.

If this becomes mandatory in cars I'm ripping it out of mine right away.

Re:The Obvious (1)

HyperBlazer (830880) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678865)

Hmm... I don't see where the article says that it is aimed at preventing irresponsible teenagers from getting drunk and bypassing the system. It seems to me a lot more like it's providing a way for responsible people (teenagers or otherwise) to recognize that they've had enough to drink that they shouldn't drive.

Drunken driving accidents increase in winter because every senselessly drunken teenager not properly educated by their parents will be wearing branded non-sensored gloves

So it's not perfect. But you seem to imply that drunk driving accidents (among teenagers, at least) will decrease in the summer. Isn't that a good thing?

NOT Obvious (2, Insightful)

deft (253558) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678866)

Please, first of all... speak for the city you are in maybe, but around here we dont wear gloves int hwe winter.... 60 degrees just doesnt need it. And the occurences that you speak of.... the time its really cold and the drunk kid gets into his car (assuming its the glove setup and not the steering wheel one, which makes more sense) the car would probably just report back it cant get a reading.

And then the work around is that most kids will STEAL A CAR??? please, what part of town do you live in that this is your "obvious" alternative??

This may work, it may not, but those are just rediculous examples of what might go wrong.

It's much more likely that the tech gets circumvented, hacked, or whatever than it it becomes the reason kids steal cars.... lol.

Re:The Obvious (1)

Kristoffer Lunden (800757) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678868)

Drunken driving accidents increase in winter because every senselessly drunken teenager not properly educated by their parents will be wearing branded non-sensored gloves.
The article is very low on information, but since it could be installed in both steering wheel and gloves, maybe the car won't start without skin contact in either? So, if you want to drive, you will have to put your hands or gloves on the wheel, and then this test is performed.
And will the car come to a stop if a person only starts drinking (and got drunk) after the car's moving?
Turning off the engine would probably be a good idea here. Ok, so it could cause a traffic jam or something, but that's better than having someone crashing into some innocent bystander.

As for your comparisons to censorship cards and whatnot, that is just plain silly. This is something that - if it works correctly - could save lives! You can't possibly fail to see the difference. As much as I like freedoms and choice, I don't think it is a human right to wield a deadly weapon uncontrollaby amongst other people. And yes, parents should pay attention to, and raise their kids, but guess what: that is not in any way fool-proof. Some kids will revolt and do whatever they want no matter what, and furthermore, one of the more common effects of alcohol is drastically reduced judgement.

What an horrible idea (1)

Kinniken (624803) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678907)

> If I had to go to jail when my kid killed someone under the influence, I would have had one kid instead of five, and spent more time on that one kid. If I can't afford the time, maybe I am not qualified to have kids at all?

I'm all for parents trying to educate their children correctly, but that's a recipe for disaster if I ever saw one: parents becoming hyper-protective by fear of prison, severely damaging the children' capacity to lead normal lives and probably leading to extreme behaviour in reaction by a fair number of them. No thanks.

Re:The Obvious (1)

mousse-man (632412) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678965)

If caning was reinstated for juvenile drunk drivers (and adults as well), it could maybe improve. Technical measures only cost money and annoy the honest people.

Why don't they just follow Slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12678732)

Make drivers fill out captchas? Then at least we'll be safe from blind drivers.

OT: this explains why there is no complaints/blind (0)

NRAdude (166969) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678962)

It is wrong to rule out that there are participants to slashdot that are blind. Not to say, blind trolls. The picture authentication code that requires interpreting a series of random letters in a deformed image to post on slashdot could as well be causing blind slashdot participants from posting their complaints! That is verry astounding! As for me, it takes me average of two tries to interpret the image. Once, I had to reload the page anew because the letters in the image was absurd and impossible to see. Think of the blind people...

To confirm you're not a script,
please type the text shown in this image: RIWNZTI

Much better solution (1)

oilisgood (161130) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678733)

This would stop the drunk driver from being able to have somebody else blow into the tube for them so they can start the car.

many uses (2, Insightful)

darth_MALL (657218) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678736)

I would imagine this could have many uses. My first would be to put one on my phone. And my keyboard, now that I think about it.

I'm sure there's a ton of people who would appreciate me doing so.

Brilliant! (0)

jleq (766550) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678738)

This is an absolutely brilliant idea. Hundreds of people die each year as a result of alcohol-related automobile crashes. Of course it could be bypassed by having a non-drunk passenger touch the wheel first, but then again, if there was a passenger present that's sober enough to drive, they should be driving in the first place.

$600 per car is not a lot to spend to ensure road safety. Perhaps this should become required by law. I'm no fan of big-brotherly ideas, but this wouldn't necessarily *have* to report someone to the police just for attempting to drive a car drunk, and could still manage to save countless lives.

Re: Brilliant! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12678784)

Looks to me like you're a HUGE fan of Big Brotherly ideas.

Re: Brilliant! (1)

rossdee (243626) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678844)

". Of course it could be bypassed by having a non-drunk passenger touch the wheel first, but then again, if there was a passenger present that's sober enough to drive, they should be driving in the first place"

What if the passenger was a child? Or blind? (I am not blind but I can't see well enough to drive a car)

Or someone who lost their licence already (but is currently sober)

I am sure such devices could save lives, as long as it doesn't prevent the car from starting, but just locks the transmission and steering. If it prevented the car from starting in the winter then the person could freeze to death while they are sleeping it off.

Re: Brilliant! (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678845)

Well, if you read about the OBD III specification and how easily it will make black box data accessible to law enforcement, you'll realize that this truly is a bad idea. Sure, if someone wants to retrofit their vehicle with a sensor wheel, fine. If someone chooses to buy a car with it, fine. But mandating it? I would think long and hard about supporting anything along those lines, because once its mandated law enforcement will be entitled to everything the device records, and you can be that that will be a part of any such law as well. I'd rather my property didn't squeal on me, just like I'd rather my computer didn't send anything the government doesn't like to the FBI.

And, actually ... $600 is a lot of money to many people. Why they should be forced to pay for what amounts to even more unwarranted paternalism is beyond me. At one point do we stop? Do we have to pay to have all aspects of our lives instrumented and monitored? No thanks. It's bad enough that our various governments are putting cameras everywhere. I don't drink and drive and I don't expect to have my property assume my name is Otis every time I try to use it. In fact, that's a good name for it: the "Otis box, because you'd have to be drinking heavily to want the Feds to force you to have one.

Re: Brilliant! (4, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678896)

$600 per car is not a lot to spend to ensure road safety.

Depends: on a $300 Yugo, it might not be such a good idea...

Then again, with a Yugo, you're very safe in the first place, since the bus driver is never drunk.

Re: Brilliant! (1)

cowwie (85496) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678980)

So.... even though I don't drink.... I should have to fork out $600 on a useless piece of junk, just so it can make whiny crybaby big-brother liberals like you feel happy?

I don't think so, skppy.

What if.... (1, Insightful)

flawedgeek (833708) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678744)

....I happen to be a bartender, and I happen to spill a few ounces of vodka on my hands? What happens then?

Re:What if.... (1)

CommanderNacho (887836) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678782)

That would be a much higher concentration of alchohol than what would be in skin pores. It would without a doubt be feasible to have some sort of maximum.

But then you have the REALLY drunk people...

Re:What if.... (4, Funny)

a16 (783096) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678818)

I would hope that as a bartender you are aware of the concept of washing your hands :)

Re:What if.... (1)

deft (253558) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678879)

You're in luck... we actually came up with another complimentary system called the "basin". This "basin" (otherwise known as sink) utilizes a washing system.

This washing system is accessible to all users, with no drunk testing before hand, as it is slightly less dangerous than a 3000 lbs car piloted by a drunk retard.

Wear gloves? (0)

NRAdude (166969) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678889)

I'm waiting for a car that can be steered with your teeth! Then we wouldn't need car keys, all we need to do is sink our teeth into a steering wheel and the onboard computer will authenticate. It could check for alcohol too, or maybe even brush our teeth as we drive; thus eliminating those pesky doctors. People that don't have any teeth left will obviously pay for their crimes, forever lecturing to children on the need to correctly maintane their teeth.

But by golly, s/teeth/hands/ or s/teeth/eyes/

Re:What if.... (1)

RonnyJ (651856) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678926)

Well, it'd have to refuse access to a driver if it encountered an improbably high alcohol content - otherwise anybody could get past the system by dabbing their hands in an alcoholic drink.

Besides, washing your hands isn't that hard.

Best of Luck (1, Offtopic)

njcoder (657816) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678747)

A somewhat good news patent story on slashdot is a nice find. I hope he does well. It must be a terrible thing to have to go through what he went through and I hope he finds success in this and it brings him some comfort in that it may help others.

Re:Best of Luck (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12678792)

> I hope he finds success in this and it brings him some comfort in that it may help others.

Of course he will be comfortable. Think of the money he could make from companies wanting to use his patent in order to help others.

Re:Best of Luck (1)

alexhs (877055) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678855)

I hope he does well

Sadly, I think that now it's patented, nobody will be interested for the next twenty years.

Those sort of things already happened before...

The need a keyboard version of this ... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12678753)

to prevent /.'ers posting crap comments like this one

YES! (3, Informative)

Capt'n Hector (650760) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678757)

Before anyone goes off about freedom being limited, rights, etc... come on. Nobody has the right to drive drunk.

Re:YES! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12678813)


Before anyone goes off about freedom being limited, rights, etc... come on. Nobody has the right to drive drunk.

And flying on an airplane is not a right, thus they can cross check you verses all sorts of wonderful databases.
Leaving the country is not a right, but they want you to get a biometric passport and btw, they will store your biometric info.
Driving is not a right, thus they want a national ID for all drivers.
You child getting treatment at a hostpital after he gets into a fight at school is not a right, and so they can put your name on a possible child abusers database and investigate you.
Having a job is not a right, thus they make you pay taxes, and get a SSN that can be collected by any business and shipped overseas to call centers where your identity can be stolen.
Owning a gun is not a right, thus they force you to fill out paper work, and cross check you against databases and then store the information so it can be collected later. Oh wait, but that one IS a right. Hey!

You don't have a right to drive, period. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12678903)

It's a priveledge, fetterd by many rules and regulations, including an allowable limit of alcohol in your bloodstream.

Re:YES! (1)

mobby_6kl (668092) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678912)

I have a right to drive in whatever condition I want. On my property. Of course this wouldn't be a violation of my rights anyway, since nobody (so far) is forcing me to use this steering wheel.

Re:YES! (1)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678991)

Nobody has the right to drive drunk.
True, but that still doesn't make it right. I don't drive drunk, ever, but I am sure many legislators would still be happy enough to force this device on me, at my cost. This is just the government babysitting us again, and taking responsibility away from both the responsible and the irresponsible.

Besides... I very much doubt that this will have any significant impact on road safety. Just like car safety inspections have not made the roads much safer, but only made car shop owners a lot happier.

Nice idea, but... (1)

RebelWebmaster (628941) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678760)

...who's going to pay for this?

It seems to me short of a court order, nobody's going to ever get one of these in their car.

Re:Nice idea, but... (1)

fbjon (692006) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678824)

That's usually how it goes too. Repeat drunk drivers will probably get one of these, or one of the other drunk-driving prevetion devices. Nothing but a good thing, I say.

Re:Nice idea, but... (1)

sycotic (26352) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678834)

"who's going to pay for this? [...] nobody's going to ever get one of these in their car."

If you have teenage children, this would be a small price to pay for their safety.

maybe the guy who got a dui (2, Insightful)

deft (253558) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678916)

I see this as maybe needed for the few repeat offenders, and not the general population. It is a little extreme, and might be best applicable for those extreme cases where the idiot just doesnt learn.

It could also be available, like the portable keychain analyzers, to people who would like to know themselves. I know I dont trust my judgement all the time when I'm drunk, but its too late when I wake up with her!!!

Re:Nice idea, but... (1)

arminw (717974) | more than 8 years ago | (#12679004)

...It seems to me short of a court order...

Anyone convicted of a DUI or known to be a alcoholic could be ordered to install this in their car and be prohibited from driving any car without it. Those who don't drink and/or drive would not have to pay for such a system. If such a person drives a car without such a system, they would never drive again legally.

Common Sense (2, Insightful)

BalorTFL (766196) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678761)

"I'm not sure the auto industry is prepared to accept that for cost reasons," he said. "Neither will the driving public because the majority of them don't drink and drive. We're not there yet."

This is -exactly- why we have government-mandated safety equipment. Think of it as a safety device mounted not just in your car, but outside it as well --- every one of these devices is another potential drunk driver kept off the road.

Re:Common Sense (1)

Politburo (640618) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678791)

No, not really. If mandated, this device would only provide a false sense of security, like many of our silly laws.

People who drive fucked up will find ways to drive fucked up. Mandating devices like this is merely treating a symptom; it is not a cure.

Cost/benefit (1)

abulafia (7826) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678921)

There is a simple measure of whether such things make sense. (Note that passing it isn't sufficient, only neccessary.) Assume that this invention would drive drunk driving rates to zero (it won't, but play along.) Is the value of the damage caused by drunk drivers currently greater than $600 * the number of cars manufactured or imported into the US? I have no idea, but I strongly doubt it. Add in the fact that it won't reduce DD rates to zero, there will be additional costs on inspections, fines for having broken drunk-o-meters, etc.

If policy is made without looking at such concerns, you've got bad policy.

Hooray! (4, Insightful)

Illserve (56215) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678764)

One more thing to break preventing my car from working and leaving me sober and stranded in the middle of nowhere, with a broken part that's only available from the dealer thereby leaving my car unrepairable by the local garage off the freeway in Idaho.

As the number of gadgets that have to function correctly for cars to run increases, the probability of getting from point A to B decreases to zero.

you must be fun at parties! (2, Insightful)

deft (253558) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678899)

wow man, doomsayer extereme!

All that doom and gloom, OR they could be pretty standard, universal, very reliable, available in most places... do you feel that your air bags break down all the time and set off sensors, etc?

yes, i realize this is applicable to the ignition system, but so are alot of things that work jsut about every day just fine.

Re:you must be fun at parties! (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12679005)

Like hell these'll be "standard, universal, very reliable, available in most places".

Well, ok, maybe they will be. Just like your catalytic converter. Did you know that its illegal for you to personally change your catalytic convertor or any other part of your engine that deals with exhaust quality control? EPA says it has to be done by a trained and certified professional. Not that anyone enforces the regulations.

Anyway, that rule just keeps idiots who don't know what they're doing from spewing foul shit into the air. Imagine the regulations on something that'll keep drunkards off the roads. They'll want it installed by trained people under the supervision of a police officer and signed off in triplicate with a notary present, just to make sure its plugged in right and won't let you start the car drunk. They'll probably even make you buy a few packs of beer for the cop, so he can test it.

hrm... (1)

mickyflynn (842205) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678767)

well, i guess this will probably become manditory by an act of congress fradulently passed under "interstate commerce" or linked as a stick to the carrot of highway funds which were pirated from the states anyway. This will then be revisited under "your rights online" and decried for slashdotters. Meanwhile, this guy will be lauded as uber hacker++ and hailed as a genus and possessing what we all wish he had. He will get rich because it will become manditory and then he'll be called evil. Not a troll, you all know it's coming.

Interesting... (2, Interesting)

FireballX301 (766274) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678768)

..but there's already something out for people that got a DUI, it basically forces you to take a breathalyzer test before your engine starts. Google won't spit out a proper link though, so if someone could give me the link...

It'd probably be much cheaper than $600 a car.

Re:Interesting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12678864)

actually, I install those units. The ones I install are made by a company called CST (Consumer Safety Technologies). They make a ton of equipment for hospitals etc. Their starter-kill units are some of the cheapest you can get when the court requires you to get one installed for DUI violations... and the cost for the unit plus the switchouts for the full period comes to around $1500.

Re:Interesting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12678957)

No, actually the way those things work is that you must "rent" them from a state-approved vendor for a period of time fixed by the judge in your case. The results of every test taken are recorded and sent to the state.

Total dollars spent depends upon the amount of time you have to have a "blow 'n go". Plus of course the inflated installation fee and non-refundable deposit.

At the time I looked into this it was usually a one-year period at $50 per month plus deposit, various fees, etc.; at the end of the period you have to give them the monitor back...

The other major thing is that you have to periodically blow into the device to keep driving. Skin contact sensors would allow continuous monitoring--a much safer deal than trying to blow into one of these things while driving. Sure, you can pull over to do so, but you only have a limited amount of time to do so and take your test otherwise, you guessed it, it is recorded as a refusal to take the test.

The current system is fine on paper--if you don't think much about driver safety. Unfortunately it oftentimes forces unsafe driving to avoid a false "refusal to test" reading...which results in a probation violation and the possibility of some severe jail time (states that require these have some pretty huge jail time penalties...up to a year for a first offense kind of stuff)

Re:Interesting... (1)

Gleepy (16226) | more than 8 years ago | (#12679007)

New York's favorite legislator Felix Ortiz is trying to get this going in this state with the "blow with the straw in the steering wheel mounted device" law. I remember something about having them calibrated twice a year, too. Sounds like ol' Felix is trying to inure the auto repair lobby a bit.

It's different when dealing with those convicted of DWI, but...

Rubbing alcohol and the DUI. (0)

NRAdude (166969) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678772)

I hear rubbing alcohol makes a greater disinfectant and shine than Armor-All. And what with the prospect of RFID in every product or particle we buy, it's only a matter of time that the steering wheel automatically confesses and pays an implied DUI ticket on your behalf. UCC Redemption is the only way...

winter? (1)

ErikRed1488 (193622) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678778)

I live in Minnesota. It's damn cold here in the winter so everyone wears gloves. Obviously the inventor has never tried touching a stearing wheen with bare hands when it's 5 degrees below zero (F) outside.

How stylish are the gloves? (1)

Cumstien (637803) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678809)

What do the gloves look like? Do they have sequins on them? Can they detect Jesus Juice? What, too soon?

Re:winter? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12678825)

RTFS:

Dennis Bellehumeur has made a $600 sensor that can be installed in a steering wheel or in gloves and will test a driver's skin to determine alcohol consumption. Ta Da.

Re:winter? (1)

fbjon (692006) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678833)

Looking at your spelling, I'd say you just did touch a -5(-20c) steering wheel. That, or you need one of these devices.

sigh. (2, Insightful)

grub (11606) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678785)


after his then-teenage son crashed into a utility pole while driving drunk and suffered minor brain damage

A technical solution to a behavioural problem... yeah, those always work.

Re:sigh. (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678977)

Well, until you find a way to stop people from choosing to be total fucktards, I'll live with a technology that could at least reduce the problem.

$600? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12678787)

That's a lot of beer.

i can get around that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12678789)

i'll just drive with my knees next time im drunk.

Gloves? Wheel cover? (1)

codewritinfool (546655) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678796)

What's to stop you from just wearing gloves (assuming you have enough wits about you to put them on) or installing a steering-wheel cover (if it is your folks car)? Covers these days don't have to be laced on, they can just slip on. I know that's taking it a bit too far, but I don't see this thing as much of a solution.

Questions (2, Interesting)

bostonsoxfan (865285) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678808)

People raise good questions, how will they make sure it is the person who really is driving. What kind of tolerance does this have?

Now for my opinion, I am in high school, probably the age group this is intended to protect. First of all what is the point in installing a 600 dollar sensor in a 300 dollar car. Also there are probably hundreds of thousands if not millions high schoolers who can drive. Most of them are safe drivers, who don't drink and driver but it is that small number who give the rest a bad name. I will admit there is drinking in high school, probably more than most studies suggest, but it is not necessarily the parents fault.

I have seen some of the smartest people, most atheletic, and having the greatest potential get messed up. Partially it is the culture but it also is the life, having a tough life never seeing the affects of alcohol, like some have.

Re:Questions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12678863)

Also there are probably hundreds of thousands if not millions high schoolers who can drive. Most of them are safe drivers, who don't drink and driver but it is that small number who give the rest a bad name.

Welcome to the real world Kid. That is always true and will always be true. One rotten fish spoils the whole pond. Way back when they charged Li for spying etc in LANL - it gave bad name to all the asian researchers there. When Shawn committed fraud in publishing papers in Science, it brought bad name to entire Bell Labs. The list goes on and on.

And accept it, majority of drunk driving accident case are teenagers and college students.

Swab action. (5, Funny)

Niban (227391) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678826)

I can't be the only person who immediately contemplated swabbing their friends steering wheels with rubbing alcohol.

No driving for you. ONE YEAR!

I need one for my computer ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12678846)

plus one would be good on my phone to help prevent "drunk dialing". Actually, come to think of it, there's a lot of things this thing could help me from doing while drunk ...

One word. (1)

Mskpath3 (764785) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678849)

Gloves.

Re:One word. (2, Funny)

Ed Thomson (704721) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678919)

one word... Gloves

You should have posted anonymously, now you are bound to be hunted down and jailed for 20+ years for violation of the DMCA and being un-american.

Oh, great. (1, Informative)

Max Threshold (540114) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678871)

Another invention for the some do-goodnik politician to make mandatory on our vehicles. As if they aren't expensive enough already.

The 1927 model 'T' Ford cost $3138.49 in 2005 dollars. Ponder that for a bit.

Re:Oh, great. (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678958)

Perhaps you should ponder the concept of "inflation" a bit. To help you out, try reading this [jitterbuzz.com] . Using the CPI base multiplier of 10, that car would cost, in today's dollars, $31384.90. Of course, in the article, they claim this may drastically low-ball the value, and at the high end, a multiplier of something like 32.4 might be more reasonable, meaning Henry Ford's Model T might cost nearly $100,000 today.

An even better idea... (2, Interesting)

Duckspeak (888208) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678884)

...would be a device that tested whether you were over the limit but didn't affect the operation of your car.

Think about it: how many adults are going to pay $600 for something that restricts the use of their car, good idea or not? But I'd personally pay that much for something that TELLS ME if I'm about to break the law.

Such a device would be a powerful educational tool for people--they'd actually learn what .08 means in terms of their subjective experience! A lot of people have several drinks and think "oh, I feel good to drive," but if they had an easy way to check this against "reality" (their BAC) they might develop a much healthier attitude about it.

Trying to restrict the use of somebody's car is kind of a silly idea for a lot of reasons (say they're waiting for their friend to pick them up and want to use the heater while they listen to music, for example) but I feel like increased awareness and some kind of concrete reality-check couldn't hurt and would probably save lives.

Re:An even better idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12678992)

Problem with a device that gives you a breathalyzer reading is that the company making it might become liable for misreadings and such. Imagine if a person checks their breath alcholhol, gets a reading slightly under the limit, and then goes driving off and gets in an accident, or is later found to be over limit by police test.

Public needs to be more supporting (1)

axonal (732578) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678893)

Another problem with drunk driving, is that a lot of people feel that there is no other option in getting home. In the city I live in, I noticed there is a lot of people against people being drunk (not out-of-control drunk either mind you that, even if not enough to drive). First off, city buses don't run at night, so no one can use a bus to get home. Taxis, have a reputation of reporting their drunk patrons to the police, and walking home is usually not an option since a police officer would most likely consider you a "Suspicious Person," then ticket you for public drunkeness. So overall, the public needs to be more supporting of programs that do offer rides, and urge city councils to let buses run longer.

Re:Public needs to be more supporting (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12678931)

My tax dollars are not for running public buses late in night to get drunkards home.

The patent text sheds some light... (2, Interesting)

beavioso (853680) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678904)

The patent text shows that the inventor thought of gloves. One embodiement has the user wearing gloves with sensors, another the steering wheel needs periodic contact for the engine to keep running. US Patent Text from uspto.org [uspto.gov]

Better Solution... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12678906)

Why not have a camera that points to the passenger seat that sends the image it sees to a computer? The image would then be analyzed using a sophisticated algorithm which determines how ugly the chick you picked up at the bar is. If she is far uglier than most of the women you pick up, the car automatically knows that you are way to drunk to drive and refuses to start.

420 ? (2, Interesting)

rajinder (303281) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678910)

what happens when it's not alcohol?

Re:420 ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#12678979)

Nothing. Stoned driving has been scientifically proven to be safer than non-stoned driving. Haven't you heard of the famous "Pizza Hut Drivers" study?

Drunk Drivers (1)

Princess Tarja (876619) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678923)

interesting idea but this is not a solution. the bottomline is that ppl have to be responsible for their own actions.it's sad that this happen far to frequently but in the end it's not up to techology (who foots the bill anyhow?) but up to the individual. they made a choice to drink in the first place and I dont want to hear whines about a hard life, socio-ecomionic issues, etc, hard lesson learned but we need to help others learn from these unfortunate experiences.

Preventative Solution (1)

jaredforshey (838394) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678932)

Don't think of this as a method of keeping drunk people from driving cars (enough possible exploits have already been posted here) but rather as a device to allow people to determine if they're really as sober as they think they are when they step into the car. I would actually welcome a way to know if I'm approaching the legal limit when I get into my car that doesn't require getting pulled over first.

Uhuh.. (1)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678935)

Do you think anyone's told him its not going to work and that breathalysers are already here and are harder to trick? Maybe if it added fingerprint scanning and electrical resistance testing to make sure you were really putting your hands on it.

At the end of the day, its totally your fault because you're the one who parks the car sober and walks into the bar.

Brilliant.. (2, Funny)

unorthod0x (263821) | more than 8 years ago | (#12678975)

So, in order to circumvent:

Steering wheel version: Wear some gloves
Glove version: Don't wear gloves

Looks to me like... (1)

jolande (852630) | more than 8 years ago | (#12679001)

This is just another case of technology trying to compensate for bad parenting. Seriously, why couldn't I just wear gloves to foil the whole system? Oh how about this, why don't we make special gloves that can detect intoxication. Yeah, that will end drunk driving.

it's a solid step (1)

willisbueller (856041) | more than 8 years ago | (#12679012)

It sounds like this could at least provide a continous check that a drunk person is not operating the vehicle. I'd be in total favour of this over the current DUI mandated breath systems... although i don't know how i feel about forcing it into everyone's cars. However, I do know how I feel about putting first time offenders behind bars for a weekend (we don't do this in Ontario; any States (or other Provinces) have harsher penalties than a slap-on-the-wrist fine?)
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