Nissan Car Catches Drunk Drivers Through Sweaty Palm

Sensor can pick up alcohol scent from sweat.

Motorists tempted to get behind the wheel after one alcoholic drink too many could soon get a ticking off from an unlikely source -- their car. Nissan Motor Co. on Aug. 3 announced a new concept car packed with technologies to deter driving while under the influence of alcohol.

Inside the gear stick knob is a highly sensitive odor sensor. If alcohol is detected in the perspiration on a driver's palm the vehicle is immobilized and a voice warns against drink driving along with a message on the navigation system monitor.

Odor sensors are also incorporated into the driver and passenger seats and if alcohol is detected in the air inside the cabin a warning is given. A camera also detects drowsiness and issues alerts as well as tugging the seatbelt.

Nissan is also testing a new on-board breathalyzer that will prevent inebriated motorists from starting up their cars as part of industry wide research into ways to reduce drink driving.

Rivals Toyota Motor Corp. and Honda Motor Co. are also researching anti-drink driving systems, said Credit Suisse auto analyst Koji Endo. "Everybody's concern nowadays is with safety and environmental issues," he said.

But the technology still seems unlikely to become widely used as it was doubtful that the government would make it compulsory, Endo added. Japan has been cracking down on drink driving since a high-profile incident last year in which a drunk public official smashed into another car, killing three children. The country has strict anti-drink driving laws and the legal limit for drivers is 0.15 milligrams of alcohol per liter of blood.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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