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Remote Detection of Drivers’ Alcohol Breath by Roadside Laser

Spotting drunk drivers from a distance. With lasers.


Hand ‘Em Over City of Johns Creek, Georgia.

It is unacceptable behavior to drink and drive. In order to effectively reduce drunken driving, the scientists now resort to high technology by using a laser device installed alongside the road to detect alcohol vapor within a fast-driving car. When the laser is shone through a moving vehicle, a mirror will bounce the laser back to a detector which is capable of sensing small concentrations of alcohol in it.

The study about such laser device has been published in latest edition of the Journal of Applied Remote Sensing. In the finding of the researchers, the laser device could be able to identify how much alcohol a drunken person had exhaled with a blood alcohol concentration above 0.1 percent.

It is also suggested by the researchers that this laser device might be much more sensitive than in the experiment, because the human lung’s temperature is quite higher than the device tested in the lab, thus breath may contain more alcohol actually than the data collected from the experiment.

However, the scientists admit that the device could be fooled in regard to alcohol exhaled by drunken passengers or a spill in the car. Furthermore, open windows, or air conditioning or fans could also fool the device itself. But anyway it would be useful for police to stop any suspected vehicle to avoid road accidents.

Although there is still some argument about the real application of the device as well as its reliability in a more scientific sense, it is strongly suggested that everyone should remember not to drive after drinking alcohol. It is the fundamental principle for drivers no matter how little you drink.

In the future, when you are driving on the road, be careful of such laser device, which would keep a close watch for your own safety.

Source: SPIE

Journal reference: Młyńczak, Jarosław, Jan Kubicki, and Krzysztof Kopczyński. “Stand-off detection of alcohol in car cabins.” Journal of Applied Remote Sensing 8.1 (2014): 083627-083627.