Monday, March 28, 2016

The breathalyzer car key that will save many lives

Imagine in your drunk state of mind, you don’t have to be in charge of deciding whether you’re sober enough to drive or not. Well that’s what Hitachi and Honda have teamed up to eliminate. Together, they have made a handheld, smart key that is a portable Breathalyzer that’s integrated into a smart car key. By breathing into this key, it can detect your blood alcohol level, and if it determines it is too high to drive, it will not allow your car to start. I think this is a great invention because many people do not know how high their blood alcohol level is when they go out and they could end up making the stupid decision to drive and either end up in jail or killing someone or themselves. It is also good because it detects your level before even stepping into the car, so the driver is not tempted to still drive once they are already in the car. I think this device can help save a lot of lives by reducing the amount of drunk driving accidents. I think some problems this article has is it didn’t state how much this device costs. Also, the device has only been made in Japan so far and is a prototype for now, so I am curious to know when it will come to the United States and if it will be able to be made in the US or will be imported from places like Japan. If it is created in Japan, I wonder if the blood alcohol level it tests for in Japan is the same as the legal limited in the US? I think the major problem of this device would be people being responsible with this and not having other people blow into it that haven’t been drinking as much so they are able to drive home and put others in harms way. Other than that one small issue people might face, which seems to already be an issue today, I think the device is a great invention and will be able to be used beneficially to save many lives.


  1. I like the idea of a smart key that drivers would have to be able to blow into to check their blood alcohol level before driver, however I had a few concerns while reading through this blog. My biggest concern with this smart key was efficiency for customers. Personally, I would get annoyed if every time I drove to the bank or grocery store quick I would have to breath on my key in order to start my car. When people go to run errands, most of the time they are not drinking alcohol, so this key would be of an annoyance. Also, I agree with what you said about there being an issue of having friends who have not been drinking blow into the key so that the driver can still get away with driving home. I was thinking to fix this maybe the smart key could be programmed so that it only recognizes when the driver/owner of vehicle breathes on key rather than anybody. Another issue that I agree on with you is the fact that this key is being prototyped in Japan and will be created to suit Japans blood alcohol level and not the United States. Being that a lot of people drive Hondas in the United States, I can see this key being an issue for future Honda car buyers, unless the United States will go against selling them in the states. Although you said you liked the aspect of how drivers would be unable to even get into their cars if they fail the Breathalyzer test, I did not agree. I feel like this is also unsafe for people, even if they are drunk. I think the smart key should at least let the driver get safely into their car and then lock the doors and not be able to start the car. For example, what if a person is leaving a bar in a bad area and has nowhere to go, but the safety of inside their car when the bar closes. That would give them the chance to call a friend or a cab and still keep them safe from driving.
    On the other hand, I think this device has the potential to save a lot of lives and keep drunk drivers off the roads. If Honda and Hitachi are able to come together and work out all of these issues, this smart key may be successful here in the United States one day.

  2. Hi Dominique,

    I think this was a really interesting article. What Honda and Hitachi are trying to do is something that they will not only profit from, but they will be saving lives by marketing this product. I agree with you in wondering when and how they will introduce it into the United States, and when they do, will it be part of all Honda cars? Or will it be optional? One question I had was how to unlock the car after it locks its engine? say a friend wanted to drive the car home, or it was the next morning or several horus later? Something that the article could have included was the logistics and features of the key. Overall I think this is a great idea, seeing as almost 10,000 people die in alcohol related accidents in the U.S. each year.

  3. I think Dominique made many accurate points throughout her blog post. Her post is about a new breathalyzer key that Honda and Hitachi want to implement into their cars. Users of these cars would have to blow into these key in order for their car to start. If their BAC is too high, the car will not start. I agree with the fact that many people do not know how high their BAC is before doing many things, like getting into a car to drive. In cases like this, where many people genuinely do not know that they would be endangering themselves and others by driving, the breathalyzer would save problems and lives. However, for people who do not care about whether they hurt people by drunk driving, they will find a way to get around the breathalyzer. I agree with Dominique that it would be very easy to have a friend blow into the breathalyzer. I think a way to solve this problem would be to implement a fingerprint feature on the key that has the owner of the car's finger print installed on it. That way, only the owner would be able to activate the key and then blow into it.


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