Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Volvos with anti - DUI Breathalyzers invade California

California drunk driving criminal defense lawyer news

Alcoguard, launched by Volvo Cars, is a fully integrated in-car alcolock that utilises advanced fuel-cell technology to reduce the number of road accidents caused by drunk driving.

The innovative solution will be available as an option on the Volvo S80, V70 and XC70 from the start of 2008, and by next summer it will also be available on the company's smaller car models. Sales of about two thousand units are expected a year, and this figure is expected to increase as time goes by. Sweden is today the biggest market for alcolocks but Volvo Cars will also offer the system in the rest of Europe and in the USA. The company-car sector, taxi operators, state authorities and municipalities will probably be the foremost customer groups, although the enhanced user-friendliness means that private car owners will also be potential customers.

Fuel-cells for securer results

Alcoguard utilises fuel-cell technology. Before the car can be started, the driver has to blow into the wireless hand-held unit. This unit is the size of a small remote control and it is stored and charged in a compartment behind the centre console. The driver's breath is analysed in the hand-held unit which then transmits the results via radio signal to the car's electronic control system. If the blood-alcohol limit of 0.2 g/l is exceeded, the engine will not start. It is not possible to use external air sources such as a pump to cheat the system.

The results of the breathalyser test are shown via three LEDs in the hand-held unit.

Green: 0.0 - 0.1 g/l alcohol, the car's engine starts

Yellow: 0.1 - 0.2 g/l alcohol, the car will start, but the driver should not drive

Red: more than 0.2 g/l alcohol, the car's engine will not start

The car's information display shows messages to help the driver in the system's usage, for instance to indicate if the test was approved or if the driver needs to exhale longer into the hand-held unit. The breathalyser results are stored for 30 minutes after the engine has been turned off, so the driver does not need to repeat the procedure every time he stops for a short while. The preset limit of 0.2 g/l has been chosen to meet Swedish legislation. On markets with other limits, the Volvo workshop can alter the setting. Calibration and battery replacement in the hand-held unit are carried out together with the car's regular servicing. If the next purchaser of the car does not wish to use the system, it is easy for
a dealer to remove it.

The hand-held unit is wireless, which makes it possible for the driver to remove it from the car. Although it will always give an accurate measurement of blood-alcohol level no matter where it is used, it is only if it is within ten metres of the car itself that the hand-held unit can communicate with the vehicle. At room temperature, the system warms up within five seconds and in order to reduce waiting time, heating is activated as soon as the car is unlocked. In order to ensure that Alcoguard also works in extremely cold and hot climates, the accompanying power cable should be used.

This is the first time Volvo Cars is launching its own integrated alcolock. For two years now Volvo Cars has been offering retro-fitting of alcolocks manufactured by external suppliers. Development of the new Alcoguard benefits from the fact that the technology has become cheaper, more accurate and more compact. Its development was also carried out in close consultation with various public authorities, insurance companies and other relevant parties to ensure a truly good solution, according to Volvo.

San Diego California DUI criminal defense attorneys can show fuel cells are not infallible.