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Toyota Creating In-Vehicle Alcohol Detection System

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the car-is-smarter-than-you dept.

Technology 507

srizah writes "Toyota is developing an Alcohol Detection System that can detect drunken drivers and would immobilize the car when it detects excessive alcohol consumption. From the article: 'Cars fitted with the detection system will not start if sweat sensors in the driving wheel detect high levels of alcohol in the driver's bloodstream, according to a report carried by the mass-circulation daily, Asahi Shimbun. The system could also kick in if the sensors detect abnormal steering, or if a special camera shows that the driver's pupils are not in focus. The car is then slowed to a halt, the report said.'"

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Ob (5, Funny)

lastchance_000 (847415) | more than 7 years ago | (#17483804)

"I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that"

Re:Ob (2, Funny)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 7 years ago | (#17483844)

It can only be attributable to human error.
The correct quote is:
"I'm sorry Dave. I'm afraid that's something I cannot allow to happen."

Re:Ob (2, Informative)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#17483886)

Bzzzt. Ah, sorry, thanks for playing though.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0062622/quotes [imdb.com]
"I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that. "

Re:Ob (4, Funny)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484080)

That's not what the OP said either.
In any case, I give up. Winning in pedantry wars isn't really all it's cracked up to be.

Re:Ob (3, Informative)

flimnap (751001) | more than 7 years ago | (#17483912)

"I'm sorry, Dave, but you're drunk and I won't allow you to start operating a heavy metal object which could kill many people if you're not alert." Not quite as catchy, I suppose.

These are already used in Australia, anyway. If you're convicted of a drink-driving offence, then your car must be fitted with an alcohol interlock [vic.gov.au] for at least six months.

Re:Ob (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 7 years ago | (#17483946)

"I'm sorry, Dave, I called the cops to arrest you for attempted drunk driving. They will be here shortly. Please urinate and/or hurl outside the vehicle."

Will blow for food (4, Funny)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484214)

I predict you will see bums holding signs in nigteclub parking lots.

Software Glitch (4, Insightful)

Martix (722774) | more than 7 years ago | (#17483812)

Just what we need is more stuff to go wrong and make a mistake and shut the engine off on a busy highway.

Re:Software Glitch (0, Troll)

DigitalRaptor (815681) | more than 7 years ago | (#17483914)

Yeah, I'm sure this car will kill 17,000 people a year, making it more dangerous than the alternative [alcoholalert.com] .

Re:Software Glitch (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17484060)

Yeah, because every drunk in the country is going to go out and buy a car that won't start.

Dangerous (5, Interesting)

ozric99 (162412) | more than 7 years ago | (#17483824)

Refusing to start the car is one thing, and perfectly acceptable, but taking control away from the driver is a big no no under any circumstance.

Re:Dangerous (1)

catbutt (469582) | more than 7 years ago | (#17483900)

Well I'd hope it would be smart enough to warn you and give you a minute to pull out of traffic.

Re:Dangerous (5, Funny)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484110)

Car : *doesn't start*
Drunk : *starts using towel*
*time elapsed*
Car : Drunk driver detected, shutting down in 60, 59, 58, 57...
Drunk : *mashes gas pedel*

Re:Dangerous (1)

steelfood (895457) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484230)

That's not gonna help if you're drunk. You'll be sitting there wondering why you're slowing down (despite any warning signs that the car will have) until it's too late and you get rear-ended. Or, you'll panic and swerve into somebody passing from the right. Or, there won't be a service road for you to pull onto.

Re:Dangerous (1)

catbutt (469582) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484258)

Well if you are that drunk, seems better than the alternative which is that you continue driving.

Dangerous Sleeping. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17484004)

Even the sleep-deprived?

Re:Dangerous (5, Insightful)

denbesten (63853) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484006)

Anti-Lock brakes, Electronic Stability Control and automatic headlights are all existing examples of taking control away from the driver.

Re:Dangerous (1)

Watson Ladd (955755) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484114)

Do they prevent you from using your car for driving? If a 18-wheeler is about to hit you, I don't think any of those devices would make collision inevitable. But this one would.

Re:Dangerous (5, Insightful)

flewp (458359) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484132)

It could be argued that ABS and stability control help the driver maintain control. Locking up the tires is rarely, if ever a good thing. And unless you're on the track, and need the car to be twitchy, stability control is usually a good thing. Again, it helps the driver stay in control. Your average driver, on average roads, is likely to be out of control in the situations where stability control would take effect. Or, on the verge of going out of control.

give me a button though (1)

r00t (33219) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484242)

Call it "hold". While pressed, it:

a. disables ABS
b. disables automatic transmision gear changes
c. disables stability control

Put that where I can operate it easily in a stressful situation, and I'll be really happy. The ABS can save me if I'm not paying attention, but I can take control when I expect the car to misbehave.

(most common example: braking on loose sand)

Re:Dangerous (1, Informative)

Mogster (459037) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484212)

I'd personally add automatic transmission to that list. A clutch allowing driver controlled engine braking gives far more control over the vehicle than an auto.

Re:Dangerous (4, Interesting)

gsn (989808) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484044)

Refusing to start the car is one thing, and perfectly acceptable, but taking control away from the driver is a big no no under any circumstance.


I'd agree that refusal to start the car is probably a good idea - possible false positives by the drunk idiot in shotgun throwing up notwithstanding. There are however several drivers I know (and unfortunately been driven by) who need control taken away from them when sober to begin with. Theres a lot of people out there who ought not be be given driving licenses. Pretty much every time I'm on the interstate I see some car crash - read about it the next day and chances are are its DUI. I'm fine with control being taken away because it seems we are getting much better at cars that can drive themselves.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/pages/live/articles/new s/news.html?in_article_id=393401&in_page_id=1770 [dailymail.co.uk]

Also there are tons of things you could do if you weren't actually driving the car and it would be brilliant for long road trips.

Re:Dangerous (1)

tomee (792877) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484140)

Unless the car is a better driver than the driver.

Imagine if this malnfunctioned on the freeway (4, Insightful)

All_One_Mind (945389) | more than 7 years ago | (#17483828)

I have a Toyota and I wouldn't dare trust my car to tell me if it's alright drive. What about false positives? What if I'm on the freeway and the car turns itself off? Wouldn't Toyota be liable for any damages? What if this results in people loosing their lives? What if I have a friend in the passenger seat who pukes on the drivers seat. What if, what if? There's too many variables in this. This is a horrible idea, and I will never buy a car that has this "feature"

Re:Imagine if this malnfunctioned on the freeway (1)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 7 years ago | (#17483860)

What if... Insurance was much cheaper with this car, and you were almost guaranteed never to be pulled over for a DUI check?

Re:Imagine if this malnfunctioned on the freeway (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484238)

Isn't it obvious ?
I would have more money for beer.

Re:Imagine if this malnfunctioned on the freeway (0)

DigitalRaptor (815681) | more than 7 years ago | (#17483976)

Add up all of those what if's, and you'll still come up WAY short of the 17,000 people killed each year [alcoholalert.com] by drunk drivers.

I've never drank a drop of alcohol in my life, and never will, so I'd gladly see this feature in every car sold. Mandatory is fine with me.

47 people a day is a steep price to pay so some drunk can carelessly drive home. As far as I'm concerned every DUI should involve serious jail time, the permanent loss of the vehicle, and a steep fine.

Re:Imagine if this malnfunctioned on the freeway (1)

toadlife (301863) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484028)

"I've never drank a drop of alcohol in my life, and never will..."
You should consider it. It's good for your health.

Re:Imagine if this malnfunctioned on the freeway (-1, Troll)

DigitalRaptor (815681) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484070)

I'll take vitamins instead.

No one takes their vitamins then suddenly beats their wife and kids, pees all over the floor, then gets in the car and kills a family just driving down the road and minding their own business, and can't remember any of it in the morning.

Yup, I'm sure missing a lot... Tempting, but I'll pass.

Re:Imagine if this malnfunctioned on the freeway (4, Funny)

bahwi (43111) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484150)

People also drink and get home safely, by bus, driving themselves, taxi, or otherwise. Whereas some people don't drink, go to church, and regularly beat their wife and children, pee on the floor. And hell, slow drivers cause accidents too. Lots of people can run someone over and completely blackout, all without alcohol. These things aren't related, and you relating them causes me to think you are already drunk. But that doesn't mean you are.

There's no shame in not drinking though, but to associate them is just silly. Voting republican, IMO, causes more deaths each year than drinking. But that's my opinion, and doesn't make it right.

Re:Imagine if this malnfunctioned on the freeway (0, Flamebait)

toadlife (301863) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484200)

By your posts I would guess you either had someone close to you killed in an alcohol related death....or you are a Mormon, so posting this is probably pointless, but...

I'm was not talking about getting drunk Mr. holier-than-thou-with-an-obvious-ax-to-grind.

Now go back to your Elks/Rotary/Boy Scout Club meeting and discuss what other morality you'd like to legislate.

Re:Imagine if this malnfunctioned on the freeway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17484210)

As a fellow abstainer:

Quit being a moron. Drinking doesn't cause any of those things. OVER-drinking does. Everything in moderation.

As for why I don't drink, there's two reasons: First and most importantly, I don't like the smell (to the point that I couldn't go to a sports game if I wanted to - open beer containers make me retch)... the second reason being that I like to maintain control over my body as much as possible, to the point of being uncertain about taking painkillers except in the worst circumstances.. and this comes from someone with regular migraines.

Re:Imagine if this malnfunctioned on the freeway (2, Insightful)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484222)

No one takes their vitamins then suddenly beats their wife and kids, pees all over the floor, then gets in the car and kills a family just driving down the road and minding their own business, and can't remember any of it in the morning.

No one has a single glass of wine with dinner and then does all those things, either.

If you believe that you would have a problem with keeping it to just a single glass, hey, great, you've made the right choice for yourself and I applaud you for it.

As far as this gizmo goes, I think breathalyzers should be standard equipment in all cars, and should also be required in all bars. (In all my years of visiting taverns I've only seen two bars that had coin-op breathalyzers.) And I wouldn't have too much of a problem with a system that refuses to start the car if it thinks you're drunk. But systems that take control away from the driver raise very serious safety issues.

Re:Imagine if this malnfunctioned on the freeway (2, Funny)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484274)

We had one at the beach this summer.

I scored a 24!

Re:Imagine if this malnfunctioned on the freeway (3, Funny)

megaditto (982598) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484036)

Perhaps they could make cars that detected a built-up sexual tension in a driver?

I have never been horny in my life, and never will be, so I'd gladly see this boner-alert feature in every car sold. Mandatory is fine with me.

What the fuck, they already offer the heated massage seats... Why not put out a happy ending to boot?

Re:Imagine if this malnfunctioned on the freeway (1)

CommunistHamster (949406) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484072)

Luckily, 17,000 people a year do not die a year while receiving "road head" (or similar), so an in-car-erection-detector-and-engine-disabler won't be necessary.

Re:Imagine if this malnfunctioned on the freeway (1)

ad0gg (594412) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484196)

That stat is deceptive, its fatalites where alcohol was involved. It includes accidents were driver wasn't legally intoxicated(under 0.08) and fatalities were the drunk driver killed themselves. I don't condone drunk driving and think 1 death is too many when it comes to drunk driving, i just like honesty in statistics.

Re:Imagine if this malnfunctioned on the freeway (3, Funny)

jlarocco (851450) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484204)

I've never drank a drop of alcohol in my life, and never will, so I'd gladly see this feature in every car sold. Mandatory is fine with me.

KNOW YOUR DRUNKARD! YOUR LIFE MAY DEPEND ON IT! You will not be able to see his eyes because of Tea-Shades, but his knuckles will be white from inner tension... and his pants will be crusted with semen from constantly jacking off when he can't find a rape victim... He will stagger and babble when questioned. He will not respect your badge. The Drunkard fears nothing. He will attack, for no reason, with every weapon at his command -- including yours... BEWARE. Any officer apprehending a alcohol addict should use all necessary force immediately. One stitch in time [on him] will usually save nine on you.

Seriously though, just because you disagree with something doesn't mean it should be illegal.

Re:Imagine if this malnfunctioned on the freeway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17484218)

and so you up there on your high horse will gladly strip the rights away from everyone else, simply for a choice you decided to make.

Re:Imagine if this malnfunctioned on the freeway (1)

vidarh (309115) | more than 7 years ago | (#17483994)

Seat belts kill too, sometimes. Ultimately what will matter is whether or not this can be made safe enough to save significantly more lives than it kills.

Re:Imagine if this malnfunctioned on the freeway (3, Interesting)

Not_Wiggins (686627) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484082)

False positives? What about false negatives?

What would the liability be when the drunk kills another because "if I was too drunk to drive, why did my car start?"

Re:Imagine if this malnfunctioned on the freeway (1)

Blublu (647618) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484244)

Yes, this might encourage people to use their car to judge wether they're fit to drive instead of their own judgement. However, if one is drunk enough to do that, the car probably won't start anyway. So unless the drunk-detector breaks, there's no problem, right?

Re:Imagine if this malnfunctioned on the freeway (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17484090)

Let x = (number of accidents caused by drink driving or fatigue) - (number of accidents caused by lack of working car) I strongly suspect that 'x' is going to be positive meaning that, from a social perspective, placing this device in cars is for the greater good. Yes, you can always come up with scenarios where you need to rush to hospital and the car denies you service, but the changes of this happening versus the number of times the device saves lives by getting people to actually stop when they are no longer capable of driving is likely to be quite disproportionate.

Re:Imagine if this malnfunctioned on the freeway (1)

bahwi (43111) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484184)

Bah, it says slows down to a halt not some immediate halt or the car turning off. AND! Cars that have trouble do this already, people run out of gas(yes, on the highway in high speed traffic). The cars don't come to an immediate stop and the way this sounds is as if it slows down probably even slower than just turning off would make you slow down. And I would think the hazard lights would come on too. But I seriously doubt this would cause people to lose their lives, it's not like it makes an immediate stop, and if you're hit they're probably driving too close.

However, I think a bigger problem is the fact that stop lights don't make sounds when changing to green yellow or red. I mean, we need the colors so that deaf people can drive, but since there seem to be more blind drivers on the road these days how do they know when to go?

(Come on down to Dallas, people just sit at green lights until they turn red, then they remember to go).

Re:Imagine if this malnfunctioned on the freeway (1)

loraksus (171574) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484192)

MADD will get the government to pass a bill granting the automakers legal immunity. Plenty of people said they would never buy a car with air bags either, now it's impossible to buy a car without one. I would not be surprised if the prohibitionist loons at MADD would try to add political pressure to see that this happens.

Alcohol on hands (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17483836)

Cars fitted with the detection system will not start if sweat sensors in the driving wheel detect high levels of alcohol in the driver's bloodstream

Suppose that I work in a bar and there's alcohol on my hands because I just spent the last eight hours wiping down tables. What then?

Re:Alcohol on hands (1)

Eiron (1030492) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484100)

Then you wash your hands. . . or wear gloves.

I guess the idea is that drunk people are too retarded to do that. Or tape over the camera that monitors their pupils.

Foolproof system they've worked out there. Cheers.

Driver responsibility! (4, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484246)

I'm quite shocked that all /.ers have looked at so far is a list of things that could go wrong with the technology.

What is really broken with this whole concept is that it takes away driver responsibility and nannies the driver. Instead of making drivers responsible, we make them victims: "It isn't my fault I drove drunk! The car let me drive! Go sue Toyota or put a Toyota exec in jail.". All these so-called safety devices just give users a false sense of safety.

Cars are fucking dangerous things and need to be driven carefully. I think it would be a GoodIdea to strip all the safety gear from the driver (passenger safety is OK). If drivers didn't have airbags and safety belts and crumple zones perhaps they'd spend a bit more time thinking about driving rather than texting etc.

Re:Alcohol on hands (1)

r00t (33219) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484262)

Hand sanitizer would do it.

Killing the car while diving can be just as bad (3, Interesting)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#17483838)

If The car is slowed to a halt on a high speed road then you can get rear ended.

Also abnormal steering can come form trying to get a round a road hazard.

"Killing the car while *diving*"?!?!?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17484014)

What are you? A Kennedy?

Think Of Teh Children ! (1)

erlehmann (1045500) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484094)

No, really : Assume there is a road. You are driving on it. Some kid decides it is fun to run onto the road. You try to avoid running over the kid with your fat SUV but the "security systems" detect "abnormal steering" and refuse to obey your orders. Now, who is liable ?

If I had one that gave a false positive... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17483840)

If I had one that gave a false positive, believe you me I would write a VERY strongly worded letter to someone in charge. Strong indeed! I just hope the internet hordes wouldn't back Toyota on its bogus detection scheme. You just know they would though.

Alcohol Schmalcohol (2, Insightful)

Si (9816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17483848)

Let's work on a teenager-on-cell-phone detection device first, k?

(and by teenager, I mean "any idiot who thinks that they don't need to pay attention to other road users")

(and by cell phone, I don't just mean making calls. Thumb-typers, you know who you are)

Re:Alcohol Schmalcohol (0)

DigitalRaptor (815681) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484048)

Alcohol schmalcohol indeed.

Drunk driving fatalities total 17,000 a year [alcoholalert.com] , 39% of all fatal crashes.

Phones account for 1,032 fatalities a year [nwsource.com] , or 0.3% of all fatal crashes.

What was Toyota thinking? I can't believe they got distracted with something so insignificant...

How to lie with statistics 101 (2, Insightful)

Si (9816) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484168)

Fine, but what about accidents caused? non-fatal accidents? accidents involving people other than the driver? I'd also like to see data on the times of day that said accidents occur - perhaps drunk-drivers are simply not good at seeing in the dark drunk /or/ sober; and most people drink in the evening, which is also the most dangerous time of day to drive (due to failing light), and... So you see, simply quoting a number or two is not really telling the whole story.

The thing is, Everyone Knows driving while drunk is Teh Evil, and there is big money and lobbists behind (not doing) it. Driving while celled has yet to attract any major attention, and so of course Toyota is going after the big target.

easy cheating (4, Insightful)

xlyz (695304) | more than 7 years ago | (#17483854)

just wear a pair of gloves

Re:easy cheating (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17483894)

mod parent up

heck don't even bother buying a vehicle with this.

Re:easy cheating (5, Funny)

Joebert (946227) | more than 7 years ago | (#17483928)

And make sure they're a size too small, just trust me on this.

not available in all areas (0, Flamebait)

User 956 (568564) | more than 7 years ago | (#17483856)

Toyota is developing an Alcohol Detection System that can detect drunken drivers and would immobilize the car when it detects excessive alcohol consumption.

Something tells me they won't be selling these in Ireland. or Boston.

WTF? Are the mods asleep? (0, Troll)

rubicon7 (51782) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484104)

A racial slur has been modified as "Score: 2, Insightful." Wonderful.

As a mick, polack, and kraut (among others), I can't wait until this comment hits 5.

Re:WTF? Are the mods asleep? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17484290)

Since when has being Irish or Bostonian been a *race* ?

Find something real to complain about, you stupid paddy square-head.

Re:not available in all areas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17484138)

Something tells me they won't be selling these in Ireland. or Boston.
Why not? It's not like you can go anywhere anyways (at least in Boston) cause of the traffic..

Same thing for cell phones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17483858)

Now, we need a system that detects that the driver is using a cell phone.

Probably disabling the car is a bad idea, but alerting the other drivers with a braking pattern would be good.

There are ways this could be more interesting. (5, Funny)

pizzach (1011925) | more than 7 years ago | (#17483878)

Slowing to a halt is all good and dandy but a bit anti-clamactic. It would be much more interesting if the breaks automatically locked, the airbags went off, all of the lights inside flipping on and off like the starship Enterprise in red alert etc etc. Defintely would scare the heck out of me. Maybe they should make the system automatically put the warning flashers on too for good measure. :)

Re:There are ways this could be more interesting. (4, Funny)

CdBee (742846) | more than 7 years ago | (#17483958)

the true guarantee of safe driving technique: remove airbag, replace with a sharp spike

Re:There are ways this could be more interesting. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17484186)

a bit anti-clamactic...the breaks automatically locked...Defintely would scare the heck out of me

The same sistem shood come on at ur PC evry tyme u sumbit a post wit speling erors.

Alcohol Sweat Detection... Not so good (1)

Bonker (243350) | more than 7 years ago | (#17483882)

I'm a handwasher. I have cats.

When I get a cut or a scratch, I clean it with alcohol. (because short of amputating the hand, it's the ONLY way to be sure!) One would assume that at least some of this alcohol would stay on my hands when I drive.

I don't drive drunk. Ever. Still my car would be cutting out whenever I've treated one of my numerous injuries.

Re:Alcohol Sweat Detection... Not so good (1)

thopkins (70408) | more than 7 years ago | (#17483926)

Isn't the alcohol you refer to isopropyl alcohol? As opposed to Ethyl alcohol. Very different.

Re:Alcohol Sweat Detection... Not so good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17484020)

In many states, isopropyl or methyl alcohol is just as illegal to have in your blood as ethyl.

Re:Alcohol Sweat Detection... Not so good (2, Insightful)

rlp (11898) | more than 7 years ago | (#17483932)

Not to mention if you spill gas (with ethanol) on your hands while fueling your vehicle.

Um... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17483898)

Are they going to ban driving gloves and sunglasses because of this?

Easy to bypass (1)

ericthughes (1015253) | more than 7 years ago | (#17483916)

Seems to me that the advantageous use of gloves and the HVAC/windows system could render this system non-functional.

I can see it now... (1)

Starteck81 (917280) | more than 7 years ago | (#17483940)

I can see it now. It's Saturday morning and the streets of college towns accross America are littered with cars that 'slowed down and stopped'.

Evidently, we are a species of perpetual children. (5, Insightful)

Lethyos (408045) | more than 7 years ago | (#17483942)

Remarkable how we devise elaborate technologies to serve as nannies in lieu responsible adult behavior.

Re:Evidently, we are a species of perpetual childr (3, Insightful)

Ardeaem (625311) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484240)

Well, since the evidence shows that many adults aren't responsible, you have to do something about it when this irresponsibility affects the life and property of other people. For instance, instead of lamenting that adults can't keep from stealing or murdering, we have laws and safeguards. You have to govern the population you have (irresponsible adults) instead of wishing for a more ideal population (all upstanding, responsible adults). Drunk driving affects the life and property of other people, so we devise technologies to tackle the issue. This isn't "nannying," it is acknowledging a problem and dealing with it.

Re:Evidently, we are a species of perpetual childr (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484250)

I dislike the implications of such technologies, but the point you're trying to make flies in the face of reality.

The reality is that people under the influence of alcohol have a hard time engaging in "responsible adult behavior".

P.S. This isn't a recent phenomena.

Re:Evidently, we are a species of perpetual childr (1)

WilliamSChips (793741) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484286)

It's better than Social Darwinism.

i dunno... (4, Insightful)

east coast (590680) | more than 7 years ago | (#17483988)

i feel that it's always a bad idea to leave technology determine if a vehicle should function or not. while i don't condone drinking and driving there is also the chance that someone may be in a position that they have no real choice.

what's going to happen the first time a few people are together drinking in a responsible fashion and one gets sick/injured and someone needs to get him to professional help and the car won't work due to their "risky" behavior? who's going to be liable for what on that day?

Re:i dunno... (4, Insightful)

Manchot (847225) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484178)

I'm all for keeping as much liberty as possible, but let's face it: when you get behind the wheel and you've been drinking, it's not a decision that affects only you. In the situation you described, if there's a real emergency, the ambulance can be called. It's one thing to trample on the Bill of Rights invoking terrorism as a reason, but it's quite another to stop "responsible" drinkers from driving (especially when drunk drivers who think that they're "responsible" kill nearly 20,000 people every year).

Re:i dunno... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17484280)

I bet you're one of those people who thinks none of the accidents would have occurred if the drivers had a BAC under .08, depending on the state or age.

Thank god I live in Canada! (2, Funny)

Sefert (723060) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484022)

And it's so damn cold i'm wearing gloves when i'm driving home pissed!

This'll be great (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17484032)

sweat sensors in the driving wheel detect high levels of alcohol in the driver's bloodstream

Better load up on anti-perspirant...
News just in: Sales increase 9000%!

They can also be used to heal wounds apparently...sweat sensors detect alcohol in the blood, they're either blood sensors or Web 2.0 has reached the automotive industry.

If the car is so smart... (1)

TheSHAD0W (258774) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484040)

...why doesn't it do the driving?

No, really, I'm serious.

Easily beatable (5, Funny)

straponego (521991) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484050)

Cars fitted with the detection system will not start if sweat sensors in the driving wheel detect high levels of alcohol in the driver's bloodstream

Pfft. Gloves.

or if a special camera shows that the driver's pupils are not in focus.

Pfft. Blindfold.

You'll have to try harder than that to infringe on my freedoms, Toyota!

Will we have the law? (1)

microbee (682094) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484056)


Nobody will pay for this technology until the law is passed that every car must have this equipment, and that will not happen in 10 years.

Aside from that, I don't see this as "too wrong". We already give a lot of control to the computer, like ABS. Also, note the article says "will not start", not "shut down". If the engine is already running, the system will not kick in. So to circumvent it, just drink after you start the engine.

youv FAIL it (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17484076)

To itS laid-back all parties it's the BSD license, are having trouble Whe7n done playing spot when done For visions going Or a public club, first organization Can connect to

Just think of all the possibilities (1)

kabaju42 (959652) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484092)

What great technology we have here. Lets just brainstorm some of the possibilities:

Just what we need is more stuff to go wrong and make a mistake and shut the engine off on a busy highway.
Or even better, something to get hacked and really reck havock.

Let's work on a teenager-on-cell-phone detection device first, k?
Hey the system doesn't like swervy motion, that means it'll take care of a ton of the cell phone drivers too, two birds with one stone.

When I get a cut or a scratch, I clean it with alcohol. (because short of amputating the hand, it's the ONLY way to be sure!) One would assume that at least some of this alcohol would stay on my hands when I drive.
I use hand sanitizer a good deal, that could mean I wouldn't get to drive after a pit stop for lunch. Oh well.

eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17484134)

sweat sensors -> alcohol in bloodstream... ?? does not compute :( Sweat comes out of glands in the skin - not directly out of the blood. I cant see how one would result in being able to detect something in the other.

Legal issues (2, Interesting)

FF3451 (836548) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484144)

Aside from the obvious issue of the system giving false positives and causing an accident, Toyota could be putting themselves in a slippery slope when it comes to possible legal issues. What they are technically doing is involving themselves in the "enforcement" of the drink-driving laws - surely meaning that one day when their system fails to prevent a heavily inebriated person from driving one of their vehicles and subsequently being involved in a collision, then thanks to our out-of-control blame culture they would be wide open to a barrage of litigation, regardless of where the true blame should be placed?

About time (1)

steelfood (895457) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484158)

The technology's been available for some time now. It's about time they started putting it into cars. Too many deaths involving cars are from drunk drivers. And it's not like darwin's performing his miracles either. Since a number of these accidents involve pedestrians, the inebriated driver is the one who walks away.

I do agree that taking control of a car while it is operating is a bad thing. The driver should always have control while the vehicle is in motion. Whether it is a good or bad thing if the driver doesn't have control while the vehicle is stationary is up for debate. But a big part of safe driving is fulfilling the expectations of other drivers. Suddenly slowing down to a stop in the middle of the road is a bad thing no matter what, even if the hazards come on and all that jazz. Besides, the chances of a person getting piss drunk while driving is a lot less than the chances of a person getting drunk in a bar or club before driving.

Instead, there are ways around the glove trick. A heat sensor on top of the alcohol sensor that measures body temperature will definitely make it harder to defeat. And well, for those who want to drive with gloves on, touching the steering wheel--heck, maybe even breathing onto it--with any exposed skin should be enough to allow the car to start.

Now, if only it was legally mandatory for all cars (the government would subsidize its installation on older cars of course)...

Both ineffective and dumb (2, Interesting)

Shihar (153932) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484162)

Over coming the alcohol sensor is a simple matter of putting on a pair of gloves. Any drunk who is sober enough to get his key in the ignition is also going to be sober enough to know he can defeat his car with a pair of gloves.

As far as the 'features' of this car, I don't want them. I can prevent myself from drive drunk without my cars help, thank you very much. The last thing in the world do I want three separate systems to disable my car. The alcohol sensor could be triggered by other sources of alcohol. More scary, the erratic driving and the lack of pupil focusing could be triggered by poor pattern recognition. The last thing in the world I want is for the car to decide is that I am not focusing enough due to a glitch and try and slow me down on in the middle of a Boston highway during heavy traffic chugging along at 70 mph.

If Toyota wants put in a safety feature that I would actually want, give me a system to warn me that I am falling asleep THAT I CAN TURN OFF. I don't mind my car warning me that my driving is looking funny or that it seems like I am not focused, but I want to be able to disable the warning should it become clear that there is a glitch. The last thing in the world I want is for it to take control away from me. I would rather veer off the road and hit a treat then come to a dead stop in the middle of a highway. Trees only hit you ounce.

this could be great or terrible (1)

atarione (601740) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484216)

depending on how implemented
not starting the engine for someone that is drunk excellent
warning the driver that the car will slow and then stop and that they must exit traffic if the system determines the driver is intoxicated could be good also. I would encourage them to install sensors to determine that the car in not in traffic before it does anything drastic.
stopping someone dead on i-5 in SoCal traffic could be quite catastrophic indeed.
Too many people are still being killed by drunks on the roads. It is too bad that people can not behave like responsible adults, since many can not such a system might be in order.

People like to argue. (1)

Elentari (1037226) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484224)

Seems like readers love thinking up rare exceptions and try to make them look like valid concerns.

E.g. "What if I see a homeless man start to fall in the street near my car, reach out to stop him hitting the pavement and getting some severely disabling bruises, resulting in my hands being covered in tramp sweat, which is somewhere in the region of 99.9% alcohol? What THEN, Toyota?"

It's not such a bad concept. Maybe if there was a manual override button that initiated some kind of drunkenness test, i.e. "recite the alphabet backwards into this microphone"...

Add GPS, auto-dialer, electric shock, etc. (2, Interesting)

PatPending (953482) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484236)

Heck, let's "Take It To The Next Level" (TM) and include a GPS receiver; an auto-dialer; city/highway db. When the "alarm" goes off, have the vehicle auto-dial 911; a synthesized voice announces (among other things) the GPS coordinates, along with cross streets (city) or mile-post number (highway). If the driver attempts to thwart the system, the vehicle will administer electric shocks (with increasing intensity).

Patent pending.

Inane. (1)

Axe (11122) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484256)

Why would anybody buy a car that may just die on you if you happened to use an common hand disinfectant (96% ethanol - the one they use in hospitals) - all the while you can easily defeat it with a pair of gloves when you are really drunk. [p] This is beyond insane. It is stupid.

Now where they really need this is... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17484268)

... on email clients, and web browsers when posting.

I like this (1)

FleaPlus (6935) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484270)

I'm a pretty libertarian fellow, but I'm surprisingly actually in favor of this sort of technology (as long as it isn't obligated by the government?). After all, drunk driving is responsible for quite a bit of death and destruction: In the US, in the year 2003 alone, there were 17,000 deaths caused by drunk driving and over a half-million injuries. Reducing drunk driving deaths would certainly help a lot more than the police's funding-based obsession over speeding tickets.

That said, I'm much more in favor of the system which prevents car startup, than the system which interferes with car operation once the vehicle is in motion. I guess I'd be interested in the latter system if it gave an obvious warning a few minutes prior, and then turned down the max speed very slowly (over a period of minutes).

that's OK (2, Funny)

oohshiny (998054) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484272)

Then the drunks will just drive hands-free; they'll think it's much more fun anyway.

Ask another car! (1)

zeromorph (1009305) | more than 7 years ago | (#17484276)

K.I.T.T. [wikiquote.org] : "There's nothing worse than a smart-ass automobile."

Listen to him he knows what he is talking about!

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