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New Breath Sensor Technology Supported By Automakers Promises To Stop Drunk Driving Before It Begins

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) - The Fourth of July is one of the deadliest days of the year for alcohol-related crashes, the National High Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says. But new technology promises to stop drunk driving before it begins.

The fully passive, non-invasive Driver Alcohol Detection System For Safety (DADSS) can detect the blood alcohol content on your breath in a matter of seconds. And if it's above the legal limit of 0.08, the vehicle won't start.

Richmond, Virginia-based James River Transportation has been on the road testing the technology for two years. The company says DADSS is calibrated to account for differing driver weights, mask wearing and even attempts to trick the system.

"This technology actually provides us that extra benefit of knowing that our drivers are going to be safe with no alcohol in their system," James River President Stephen Story tells CBS News.

The new alcohol detection technology, more than a decade a $100 million in the making, is supported by more than a dozen top automakers. They've joined forces with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) to back the DADSS technology.

It will be available for open-source licensing in commercial vehicles in late 2021, according to the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety, Inc. (ACTS). A consumer version is still under development and is expected by 2024.

The hope is that this may one day be an added safety feature you can add on to a new car you buy at the dealership. So parents, for example, could make sure their teenage drivers don't drive with alcohol in their system.

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