Sobriety tests in new cars might prevent most drunk driving deaths

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Research from the University of Michigan Injury Center and the University of Michigan Transportation Research Center has examined the impact of installing alcohol ignition interlock devices into all new cars. Researchers concluded such devices could prevent 85 percent of drunk driving- related deaths in the U.S. over a span of 15 years.

Car breathalyzers can measure a driver’s blood alcohol content from their breath or through the fingertips. Alcohol ignition interlocks include devices that drivers can exhale into, as well as those they can place their fingers on.

When a person consumes alcoholic drinks, alcohol is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream, but its chemical structure remains intact and therefore easily detectible.
Once the device absorbs the alcohol, ethanol in the alcohol is oxidized in the device’s fuel cells. This produces acetic acid, protons and free electrons. When electrons are transferred through a wire to the other side of the fuel cell, they produce an electrical current that can be measured by the breathalyzer.

The breathalyzer calculates the equivalent blood alcohol concentration based on the amount of electrical current it detects. A blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent is the legal limit in all fifty U.S. states. If the device detects a concentration over the legal limit, then the car will sound an alarm.

Alcohol ignition interlock devices are already used successfully in all 50 states as a component of DUI sentencing or as a condition for having a license reinstated after a DUI.

RUNDOWN SHOWS:
1. Intoxicated man getting into his car
2. Intoxicated man using two different types of breathalyzers in his car
3. With an ethanol-specific fuel cell as a censor, alcohol undergoes oxidation reaction and electrons create an electric current
4. Device measures current
5. Car sets off alarm if alcohol content in the blood too high

VOICEOVER (in English):

When a person consumes alcoholic drinks, alcohol is quickly absorbed into the bloodstream but its chemical structure remains intact and therefore easily detectible.

Car breathalyzers can measure a driver’s blood alcohol content from his breath or through the fingertips.

Once the device absorbs the alcohol, ethanol in the alcohol is oxidized in the device’s fuel cells. This produces acetic acid, protons and free electrons.

When electrons are transferred through a wire to the other side of the fuel cell, they produce an electrical current that can be measured by the breathalyzer.

The breathalyzer calculates the equivalent blood alcohol concentration based on the amount of electrical current it detects. A blood alcohol concentration of 0.08 percent is the legal limit in all fifty U.S. states.

If the device detects a concentration over the legal limit, then the car will sound an alarm.

SOURCES: Reuters, Lion Laboratories, Craig Medical Distribution
http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/19/us-public-health-drunk-driving-idUSKBN0MF2J920150319
http://www.lionlaboratories.com/testing-for-alcohol/fuel-cell-sensors/
http://www.craigmedical.com/Breathalyzer_FAQ.htm