New York, NY- Researchers in Warsaw, Poland, have developed a new tool to help law enforcement identify drunken drivers and possible reduce drunken driving accidents.
The technology was developed Military University of Technology’s Institute of Optoelectronics in 2013 and employs lasers to detect to alcohol in moving vehicles from the side of the road. When alcohol is detected in a vehicle, the device sends a message to law enforcement complete with a photo of the suspected vehicle and the license plate number. This gives law enforcement the information they to pull over a vehicle and determine whether a driver is intoxicated.
Researcher used a real car with a system that simulated produced alcohol vapors in the vehicle and simulated a drunken driver. The laser device was capable of detecting a driver with a blood alcohol concentration as low as .01, according to the University Herald.
While it may sound like a great tool for law enforcement, there are issues with device. Researchers concede that the device has difficulties detecting alcohol if the windows of a vehicle are down or if the windows are tinted. It also detects alcohol use by passengers or if alcohol was spilled in a vehicle. Even if a driver takes countermeasures to fool the laser device, it sends a message to law enforcement that the car should be checked for a drunken driver.
Researchers published their findings in findings in SPIE, the journal for International Society for Optics and Photonics. You can read the results of the study here.
This new technology will certainly spike the interests of road safety advocates but the technology is still in the development stages. Researchers are still trying to determine how to make the device more compact and easier to use along with determining how overcome the countermeasures drivers can take to fool the laser device.
This particular device is among many being tested to combat drunk and drugged driving. Researchers are in currently trying to develop a breath test to detect marijuana usage in a driver which can be used in the field a yield much quicker results than a breath test. The NTSB also encouraged automakers to develop technology that would detect alcohol on a motorist’s breath and prevent a vehicle from starting it their blood alcohol limit exceeds the legal limit.
These technologies would be beneficial to law enforcement but they are a long way off. Even without advanced technologies law enforcement agencies across the country arrest approximately 1.4 million people for driving under the influence, according to statistics from the FBI.
Each one of these individuals faces numerous consequences as a result of their DUI arrest. When a person facing DUI charges retains a DUI attorney, they have a better chance of preventing their conviction or minimizing the overall impact of such a charge. Alleged offenders don’t have to hire a DUI attorney, but not doing so would be as big a mistake as driving under the influence in first place.