Volvo testing ways to stop drunk drivers

Aug. 24, 2005 at 10:00 AM
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DEARBORN, Mich., Aug. 24 (UPI) -- The Swedish unit of U.S. carmaker Ford Motor Co. is experimenting with a built-in breathalyzer and speed governor to reduce road accidents.

Dan Johnston, spokesman for Volvo Cars of North America told ABC News it may take years -- if ever -- for the technology to make it into production vehicles, and said Volvo would likely be hard-pressed to get it adopted into cars destined for the U.S. market.

The breathalyzer is part of the seat belt mechanism, and before the car will start, the driver must blow below .08 percent or less with the belt buckled. All 50 U.S. states have adopted .08 as the legal limit, while in Sweden, the legal limit is .02, or the equivalent of one drink.

The test vehicle also is equipped with a special set of ignition keys that can be programmed to limit the car to preset speeds, which would enable parents to have control over inexperienced teenagers.

Chuck Hurley, chief executive officer of Mothers Against Drunk Driving in Irving, Texas, said he is pleased Volvo is taking steps toward research and development, but is reserving judgment until he sees further scientific research and findings.

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