Go Ahead, Drink and Drive

…if you want to die or kill someone. Many car drivers are aware that drinking and driving is an offense and could result in death ...


…if you want to die or kill someone.

Many car drivers are aware that drinking and driving is an offense and could result in death of not only themselves, but also others. Some countries consider it such a serious offence that they feel the death sentence is justified, for instance, in El Salvador where even the first offense might land you on death row! In Bulgaria, they believe in second chances and only the second offense is punishable by death. For most of the rest of the world, the punishment is not as harsh; driving while intoxicated merely results in a penalty, ranging from USD250 in England to USD10 000 in South Africa, and revoking of the driver’s license and maybe a jail sentence.

Thelaw.tv reported some ‘funny’ penalties, although I believe they are isolated cases that need to be verified. For example, the site reported that in Malaysia, the drunk driver will be jailed; if he is a married man, his wife will be jailed too. I do not think the Malaysian judiciary condones practices that are akin to 'Sati' (self-immolation of the wife when the husband passes away). The site also reported that in Turkey, the police brings the drunk driver 20 miles away from town and the offender is forced to walk back. If that is true, the Turkish police would be kept very busy escorting, driving slowly behind the offenders as they trudged home (I’d pity the car engine, which could potentially form sludge if constantly driven this way).

Nonetheless, the ideas brought forward by this site are rather creative. After all, many drivers allow themselves to imbibe alcohol and then get behind the wheel, casting aside any thoughts for law or lives. Some drivers say that it is because “the spirit is willing but the flesh is weak.” If that is so, then what if cars were incorporated with a sensor that can measure the driver’s blood alcohol level and self-immobilise if high levels are detected. Is this good or bad news for you?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety (ACTS) in the US have made a joint investment of USD2.25 million in a technology named 'Tru Touch Technologies'. The system works by installing an infrared light at the ignition button. When the driver presses the button, an alcohol level reading will be taken within seconds. If the alcohol limit is exceeded, the car won’t go anywhere - take a nice nap until the alcohol level goes down below the accepted limit. The system is clever as well; it won’t be deceived by a friend’s finger due to the built-in biometric scanner.

NHTSA and ACTS intend to deploy the technology for widespread usage, and perhaps other countries will follow. To drivers who have good self-control and discipline, this system makes no difference. For those who only feel remorse when standing in front of the police and forced to blow into the breathalyser, we might say that this is an excellent technology to keep them in check.

images: dallascarcrash.com, autoweek.com

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