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An invention to stop drunk drivers

May 8, 2007

Now this is something unheard of… a device to detect drunken drivers! No, more than that actually. It actually stops the drunken drivers. Some electrical engineering students from Chennai’s MGR University have made a contraption that actually smells booze from one and a half metres away and then simply shuts off the ignition. Getting into the car drunk is quite out of the question as the car will simply refuse to move. And forget about opening that bottle of beer while in the car. The car can sense that too! It smells the alcohol, whether on our breath or in a bottle near by. I presume that this means that anyone sitting next to the driver will have to be sober too! Bad news for drinkers but a boon in India where there are no proper drunk driving laws. Here, drivers can kill six people and get only six months in jail!

The Chennai students plan to go commercial once they have worked further on the device so that it can be fitted neatly into the steering wheel or even the handle of a bike.

I wish these innovative guys the best of luck in their plans to commercialise the device. If the cops and the courts can’t do their job because of poor laws, inefficiency and corruption, well, let the machines take over!


Related Reading: Causes of road accidents in India
The rich can get away with rash driving

(photo sourced from IBN Live)

4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 9, 2007 2:29 pm

    It’s not unheard of actually, Toyota and Nissan have already been researching such technologies. While Nissan is experimenting with conventional breathalyzer devices (like the MGR one), Toyota is taking other approaches. See

    The challenges in commercializing such products is making them easy-to-use. And will government authorities make it mandatory to install them or whether auto companies leave the choice up to the end-user is another question. So it’s still a long way to go, but there’s hope!

  2. Seran permalink
    May 9, 2007 4:38 pm

    Good invention indeed.

    But not sure if the govt/vehicle manufacturers take any effort to make it mandatory in all the vehicles

  3. Pradeep permalink
    December 3, 2007 1:08 pm

    This seems to be innovative. But on the other hand, it has it biggest drawback : how do you expect a person who is drunk after a party to catch a cab and get home. 🙂

  4. December 3, 2007 2:02 pm

    @Pradeep: That is easily solved. Right off the top of my head, overrides. This will allow public transport to run without the device.

    Another one, centralise the breath analysers so that data is recd. by a taxi union etc. Cabbie must pass breath test for a central override of the system! But this one is far more complicated and hence easier to misuse.

    But a drunk cabbie, is a little less likely than a drunk spoilt brat and I am willing to live with the minimised risk.

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