Driving under the influence of alcohol is dangerous. This risky yet common habit needs to be avoided completely. It can be life-threatening, not only for the driver but also for the co-passengers and bystanders on the road. On-duty police officers keep a vigilant eye to detect intoxicated drivers. However, it is not possible for them to be present everywhere. It is the primary responsibility of car-owners to ensure they are in a condition to drive when taking the wheels. To help them take this responsibility and be sure first-hand, Canada-based Sensor Diagnostics has come up with a solution called Sober Steering.
Founded by Catherine S. Carroll (chief operating officer and acting chief executive officer) and John T. Carroll (chief technology officer)—a daughter-father duo—Sober Steering is effectively a biosensor pad that alerts the driver when he or she is drunk. The pad is installed on the surface of the driving wheel and synced with the interlock of the wheel. After ignition, the driver has to place a palm on the Sober Steering biosensor pad, installed on the wheel.
The way it works is that the sensor detects the concentration of blood alcohol based on the gases exuded from the palm. If alcohol detected exceeds the safety limit, the safety lock comes into play and the vehicle is immobilised. The lockdown remains for one minute, after which a sober driver can take the same test. If alcohol influence is found to be negative, he or she can take control of the wheels.
Users can also opt for a feature that allows them to send instant messages to emergency contacts or a dispatch unit for assistance, by syncing the sensor to mobile devices.
Sensor Diagnostics also provides Bus Vector, a GPS tracker and navigation system, that sends the location of the vehicle along with the notification. Sober Steering is programmed to run random retests as well to ensure driver sobriety while on the ride. If the driver tests positive of alcohol influence while the vehicle is moving, the notification and location is sent without immobilising the vehicle on-the-go.
While end consumers can use Sober Steering for their personal vehicles, owners of vehicle fleets or car rental businesses can install this biosensor on each of their vehicles to ensure that the assigned drivers are handling the vehicles responsibly and safely.