The anti-drink-drive car

Published: 03 August 2007

Nissan today unveiled its answer to drink-driving: the car that monitors the driver's alcohol level before every journey and stops you if you're about to break the law.

Boffins at the Japanese firm have equipped a domestic market Fuga with monitoring equipment that can spot if a driver has been boozing. It's so sophisticated, engineers claim it can differentiate between perfume (which often contains alcohol) and tell if it's the driver or the passengers that have been drinking. Nissan is also testing an onboard breathalyser, which could be made mandatory before each journey. But scientists are only too aware that drink-driving is an emotive issue - don't expect production cars to feature this technology for a while.

A Japanese spokesman told CAR Online: 'There are so many social factors to consider here. The hardware technology exists today, but we need governments and society to back this sort of project before it became a reality.' Nissan's technology is only a few years away from production reality, he added. Of course, it's not the first time that car makers have experimented with this sort of technology; Saab is trialling an alco-key in Sweden, that includes a compulsory breathalyser test before it unlocks the ignition.

By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet