Drunk Driving Could Be Next Target of Laser Technology

As reported by SPIE (the international society for optics and photonics), a recent article in the Journal of Applied Remote Sensing, is gathering attention for research that could lead to devices capable of detecting even small amounts of alcohol in vehicles.

The article, authored by Jarosław Młyńczak, Jan Kubicki, and Krzysztof Kopczyński of the Military University of Technology in Warsaw, Poland, details various experiments using an external laser device to detect the presence of alcohol vapors inside a moving car.

Similar to the manner in which some jurisdictions track speedsters and traffic light violations, the laser system is set up on the side of the road to monitor each car that passes by. If alcohol vapors are detected in the car, a message with a photo of the car including its number plate is sent to a police officer waiting down the road. At that point, the police officer presumably stops the car and checks for signs of alcohol using conventional DUI tests.

“The researchers simulated alcohol vapor coming from a human lung by evaporating a water solution of alcohol of an appropriate concentration and at an appropriate temperature. The results showed that the presence of alcohol vapors was detected at concentrations of 0.1‰ and greater.”

The article notes that savvy motorists can attempt to employ some countermeasures, such as driving with the windows down or the use of solar screens on the side windows. Further testing will be conducted to determine the effect of air conditioners and fans, as well as creating a device that is more compact and less delicate. Could portable devices like speed guns be far off?

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