Sober Steering to put the brakes on drunk driving

Interesting tech story this weekend in the Waterloo Record about a clinical neuropsychologist who has moved his Windsor-born startup to Waterloo’s Accelerator Centre.

Dennis Bellehumeur’s Sober Steering Sensors Canada is working on technology that makes use of chemical sensors built into steering wheels to detect the gas byproducts of alcohol through the skin of drivers. The technology, developed in conjunction with a California-based Seacoast Science has been garnering interest around the world.

Organizations like Mothers Against Drunk Driving Canada that are trying to combat drunk driving have a keen interest Sober Steering’s technology and the insurance industry is onside as well.

Sober Steering recently received $1.5 Million from the Ontario government’s Innovation Demonstration Fund to produce prototypes and test later them later this year in about 200 fleet vehicles, such as transport trucks and buses.

Bellehumeur believes the world is ready for the technology as throughout North America, judges are mandating ignition interlock systems for vehicles of people who have been convicted of drunk driving.

Ignition interlock systems require the driver to blow into a breathalyzer before starting the car – if the system registers alcohol above the legal limit, the vehicle will not start. However ignition interlock systems are expensive costing up to $2,000 per automobile each as opposed to an estimated $200 for the Sober Steering solution.