Alcohol Detecting Sensors to Be Standard in All Cars Within 10 Years?

A bill to study alcohol sensing devices as standard equipment in vehicles is being supported by a number of congressmen and senators. A proposed amendment to the 2010 Motor Vehicle Safety Act, would calls for funding of $40 million over the next five years to develop alcohol detection sensors. These sensors could be in the form of sensors in the steering wheel that measure alcohol by skin contact, and visible light to measure BAC through spectroscopy.

So many questions remain about these alcohol sensing systems. Will they become mandatory equipment, like air bags? That is the goal of organizations like MADD. If so, exactly what threshold will be a violation? .08% BAC, legal limit? Or lower? Most ignition interlock devices are set to .02% BAC, or essentially any detectable amount of alcohol. Will it make driving after 1 drink illegal? What will be the consequences of triggering a lockout on these devices?

According to The Hill, MADD’s position is that the alcohol sensing devices are “passive, unobtrusive, reliable, accurate.”

How can these systems be considered reliable and accurate of they haven’t even been fully developed and tested?

MADD has a goal to completely eliminate drunk driving, something that we can all support. But these mandatory monitoring systems that treat every driver like a criminal go way to far.

About David Matson