The Japanese automaker Toyota Motor Corporation announced plans to develop a system for its vehicles that will determine if a motorist is driving under the influence.
The plan is to develop sensors that will analyze perspiration on the palms of the driver’s hands. If the blood alcohol level of the driver is determined to be above legal limits, the system will automatically disable the car. This approach differs from that of European automakers, like Saab, who are experimenting with breathalyzer type tubes in their fleets to detect drunk drivers. Toyota feels that system can be circumvented by having someone other than the driver blow in the tube.
The Toyota system would also analyze a driver’s eye movement, driving performance and other factors.
Rival Nissan Motor announced similar plans last year. Both automakers are responding to a public outcry against drunk driving in Japan, though the alcohol detection system could be made available in other countries. The national office of MADD in the United States recently advocated the installation of breathalyzer equipment in automobiles owned by those arrested for DUI, even first time offenders.
Toyota is planning on making the alcohol detection system available in 2009.