MADD Hawaii: New car technology could prevent drunk driving

Local News

There’s new technology that’ll help prevent drunk driving that could one day be built into new cars.

MADD Hawaii showed off the new technology Friday at Macy’s Ala Moana Center.

The first is the touch method — the driver touches the start button,  where it will measure the driver’s alcohol levels with an infrared light scanner.

The other is the breath method, where sensors mounted near the driver would be able to detect if someone’s drunk.

“Nearly a decade ago,” said Hawaii founder Carol McNamee, “MADD launched its Campaign to Eliminate Drunk Driving, which calls for three important steps we can all take to stop drunk driving — support high-visibility law enforcement, required ignition interlock for convicted offenders and advanced vehicle technology. … In-vehicle alcohol detection technology is no longer just a concept but a reality. We are moving one step closer to seeing a future without drunk driving.”

Honolulu City Council member Ron Menor said “we need to find ways to be innovative, to be more effective in discouraging DUIs from occurring in the future, so I think this technology has tremendous potential and our government essentials should seriously look at in the future.”

“My son would still be alive if we had this technology,” said Karlotta Carvalho. “It saddens me because it’s too late for my son, but I don’t want anyone else to lose their child, so it’s never too late (for others).”

The new technology could be installed in cars within the next five to eight years.

Meanwhile, if you’d like to help raise money for MADD Hawaii, there’s the “Walk Like MADD” event on Saturday, Sept. 12, at Ala Moana Center.

Presenting sponsor Macy’s Ala Moana presented a check for $7,000 to MADD Hawaii on Friday.

According to the organization, 48 out of 102 traffic fatalities in 2013 were alcohol-related statewide.

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