The Problem

One in every six deaths caused on the road today are in someway linked to drink driving. In Britain alone, around 2000 people are killed or seriously injured each year as a result of driving whilst under the influence of alcohol. ‘More than 7,700 people were cautioned in 2007 in the UK for being over the alcohol limit set by law; a reasonable decrease compared to the previous years total of 9,658 in 2006’. The figures speak for themselves; drink driving is becoming a big problem. It is leading to the deaths of thousands of people each year and the situation seems to be getting worse. It is obviously a really serious problem but how can the figures above be drastically reduced? Can drink driving be eradicated all together ?

What’s currently on the market ?

The only solution in place at the minute is via police testing. Breathalyser tests, although often random, are taken when a driver starts acting suspiciously, but for every person that is caught there are 9 others that get away guilt free. The system does help to catch offenders who are currently in the act of committing the crime, but it doesn’t prevent them from doing so in the first place. The problem is how to stop these offenders from drink driving all together ?

The Solution.

Our solution is fairly simple; to develop a device that can be fitted into cars which prevents the car from starting if the driver is over the alcohol limit set by law. Even the most sensible amongst us will have committed a drink driving offence in the past; it only takes 4 units of alcohol to effect your ability to drive, but that in itself is enough to put your life and the life’s of others at risk. Alcohol affects your reaction time, slowing it down considerably and also effects your judgement of speed and distance, instantly causing a danger to yourself and all other road users. Many people believe that having a few drinks won’t effect their driving performance and because so many people get away with it they don’t seem to worry about the consequences. It’s these people, just as much as the more serious offenders that our product is aimed towards. We want to come up with a solution that will prevent anyone who wishes to commit the act of drink driving from doing so, however much they desire.

The way in which we do this can be varied, ranging from physical sensors to visual pick-ups. A device could be installed that identifies the size of the driver’s pupils and recognises irregular or unusual driving patterns. Alternatively the device could be placed in the mechanism used to start the car, for example sweat sensors on the key that reads your alcohol levels and won’t start the car if the driver is over the limit. Another possible solution would be to include a really strong breathalyser within the car itself, one the driver doesn’t even have to breathe into for it to take a reading. The possibilities are endless; the only problem is coming up with a solution that is both viable and effective.

This unit is designed primarily as a drink/drug drive deterrent (hence the 4D), which immobilises the vehicle ignition system but it also serves as an anti theft device. The need to input a pin number ensures the vehicle can not be driven while over the legal drink drive limit or under the influence of illegal drugs or stolen.

General Motors in America have an anti theft device which uses ignition immobilisation but this does not actually stop thieves steeling the vehicle. The vehicle can be immobilised after it has been stolen by sending a signal via a satellite link directly to the vehicle which causes the ignition to become inoperative. This unfortunately is prevention after the fact. Most countries of the world have drink drive laws in place but not all countries have the same legal limit of blood/alcohol levels. This could cause a problem if the vehicle is driven in a different country from its origin. To solve this problem, the unit could be fitted with a GPS so that no matter which country the vehicle is driven in, the unit knows its own location and can reset the internal parameters thus causing the driver to abide by the countries dink/drive laws. The science concerning transdermal alcohol levels is not in its infancy but the technology needs a number of years to catch up. The actual measurement of blood/alcohol or blood/drug levels through perspiration on the surface of the skin is not new but the time taken for the electronics to actually process the results is still quite slow, not the 20 seconds this unit stipulates. This unit has potential but it could be at least two or three years until the sensitivity of the electronics is sufficiently high enough for the unit to function in the time specified in the report. This gives the manufacturer of this unit ample time for development.   

 Special thanks to all the group members:- Andrew Howard, Esther Iteman, Stephen Wright.
4D-VI     3D MODEL
4D-VI     3D MODEL