Saturday, August 4, 2007

California vehicles to have DUI immobilization system

California DUI Lawyer news

Nissan unveiled a new concept car featuring multiple preventative features designed to reduce California DUI / drunk driving utilizing technologies that are purportedly designed to detect the driver's state of sobriety through smell, facial monitoring and driving behavior.

When a California DUI driver sits behind the whell and alcohol is detected, these technologies activate a range of preventive measures including immobilization of the California vehicle.

• Alcohol odor sensors — A hi-sensitivity alcohol odor sensor is built into the transmission shift knob, which is able to detect the presence of alcohol in the perspiration of the driver's palm as he or she attempts to start driving. When the alcohol-level detected is above the pre-determined threshold, the system automatically locks the transmission, immobilizing the car. A "drunk driving" voice alert is also issued via the car navigation system.

Additional alcohol odor sensors are also incorporated into the driver's and passenger seats to detect the presence of alcohol in the air inside the vehicle cabin. When alcohol is detected, the system issues both a voice alert and a message alert on the navigation system monitor.

• Facial monitoring system — A camera is mounted on the instrument cluster facing the driver to monitor the driver's face. The system is calibrated to monitor the driver's state of consciousness through their eyes. When the system detects signs of drowsiness, a voice and message alert is triggered via the navigation system. Additionally, a seat-belt mechanism is activated, which tightens around the driver to gain his or her immediate attention.

• Driving behavior — By constantly monitoring the operational behavior of the vehicle (e.g. sensing if the vehicle is drifting out of its driving lane), the system can identify signs of inattentiveness or distraction in the driver. When the system detects such behavior, voice and message alerts are issued via the navigation system. The seat-belt alert mechanism is also activated, tightening around the driver to gain immediate attention.

This concept car was developed as an exploratory platform to showcase breakthrough technologies that could potentially be applied in future California production cars, part of an ongoing program from Nissan contributing towards preventing California drunk driving.

Nissan has already launched and is developing several initiatives to help prevent California drunk driving. In June, the company introduced the "drunk driving" message alert on its navigation system. In July, Nissan also began testing of a new on-board breathalyzer system in cooperation with several local government authorities in Japan, where an interlock mechanism will immobilize the vehicle if the driver's breath indicates the presence of alcohol above a specified level. California DUI lawyers wonder if the system is reliable and accurate.

Nissan is taking a holistic approach towards safety that extends beyond the technology built into its vehicles. To achieve a "safe driving environment," Nissan has embarked on the Intelligent Transport System Project (ITS) in Japan aimed at helping to reduce road accidents via the analysis of traffic data collected from on-the-road vehicles and traffic beacons. California DUI attorneys object to this Big Brother approach.

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