Drunk-driver proof cars could be sold by 2020

A new alcohol detection system could be introduced in cars by 2020, preventing intoxicated drivers from starting their cars.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showcased their first prototype of the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety, known as "DADSS" at Mothers Against Drunk Driving's 2015 national conference in Washington last weekend .

The system prevents drivers from driving if they have consumed over the recommended level of alcohol to drive safely by analysing a driver's blood alcohol content (BAC) in two ways, with results taking less than a second to come through.

A breathalyzer, which is placed on both sides of the steering wheel, will take a sample of the driver's exhaled breath, analysing its alcohol content and the driver's blood alcohol levels will also be measured by shining an infrared light onto their fingertip when it's placed on the car's ignition button.

If the system detects that the driver is over the limit, the car shuts down, preventing the driver starting the car.

Speaking at the conference, NHTSA administrator Mark Rosekind, said: "DADSS has enormous potential to prevent drunk driving in specific populations such as teen drivers and commercial fleets, and making it an option available to vehicle owners would provide a powerful new tool in the battle against drunk driving deaths."

There are however some limitations. The DADSS system will not be compulsory in all cars and will also cost drivers around $400 (€357) to install in their cars.

The system has also been met with some criticism. Managing director of The American Beverage Institute, Sarah Longwell, told The Detroit News that DADSS "will simply stop many responsible social drinkers who have a glass of wine with dinner from starting their cars."

Some car companies involved in the DADSS research program include BMW, Ford and Toyota. It is believed that the technology, which has been under development since 2008, could be fitted inside new cars by the end of 2020 and will save up to 7,000 lives per year in the U.S.

In 2013, there were 10,076 recorded deaths on US roads. 6,500 of these fatalities were due to drivers who were intoxicated behind the wheel.

Drunk-driver proof cars could be sold by 2020 |