As part of a plan to prevent drunk driving incidents, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has granted a $2.25 million contract to TK Holdings Inc. of suburban Detroit for the development of an automotive application for blood alcohol testing. Infrared technology will be used by TK, the North American subsidiary of supplier Takata Corp.
The company that had developed this infrared technology is TruTouch Technologies Inc., which is based in Albuquerque, N.M. The driver would only have to touch a button in this device, which uses infrared light to detect alcohol in the bloodstream.
If the driver fails the sobriety test, the TruTouch device will disable the vehicle's engine. In 2009, there were over 10,800 alcohol-related driving fatalities.
This is a 31% drop since 1991 but the drop in deaths could be attributed to standardized vehicle airbags and stricter crash-test ratings, which the NHTSA supports. The NHTSA funds are routed through the organizations Driver Alcohol Detection Systems for Safety and the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety.
In a statement, Kirk Morris, vice president of business development for TK Holdings, said that the TruTouch sensors will be seen in automotive, commercial vehicle and heavy-equipment applications.
He said that with this tool, intoxicated drivers will be stopped from operating the vehicle when they’re impaired. However, this method is personal and non-intrusive.