Putting the brakes on drunk driving

14 June 2019

Strides are being made towards the prevention of drunk driving – with focus from car manufacturers, police and traffic departments and mobile app developers.

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Did you know that South Africa ranks number six in the world when it comes to countries that consume the most alcohol? Unfortunately, this also translates into a high percentage of alcohol-related road deaths and injuries. In fact, drunk driving in South Africa is one of our country’s biggest threats to road safety.

The good news is, strides are being made towards the prevention of drunk driving – with focus from car manufacturers, police and traffic departments and mobile app developers. Like many things in the world today, technology is key to encouraging changed behaviours.

Here are some of the technology-based initiatives which can help in the prevention of drunk driving:


With its latest concept car, Nissan is one of the pioneers in introducing drunk driving prevention technology. According to the latest updates, the car includes a list of top-notch features designed to recognise driver’s alcohol levels and take action accordingly. The drunk driver detection system will feature the following modes:

  • Detection using Alcohol Odor Sensors
  • Detection using facial monitoring system
  • Detection of the driver's state from driving behavior

Nissan is launching a system of odor sensors, cameras and drive-lane monitoring system for the detection of a drunk driver in a car. Voice alerts and seatbelt tightening mechanisms will help in awakening drowsy drivers. 



South Africa’s Minister of Transport, Blade Nzimande, demonstrated the new Evidential Breathalyser Alcohol Test (EBAT) system during the launch of 2019’s road safety campaign. The system comprises a machine which can read the level of alcohol in a person’s breath. Two breath samples will be tested and the lower of two (less than 0.24 mg per 1,000 ml) will be marked as that person’s intoxication level. If detection shows excessive amounts of alcohol, the police department will be responsible to charge the person. 

One of the biggest advantages of this system is that it will offer instant reading for alcohol intoxication in a person. The readings can be recorded as evidence to hold against the subject for the sake of further court proceedings. 


Apart from the latest innovations in automotive technology and alcohol testing systems, smartphone apps are playing a central role in the prevention of drunk driving. Some of these apps are not yet available in South Africa but keep an eye out for them.  

  • Drink Tracker: 
  • This iOS app accurately estimates the levels of alcohol concentration in your blood. 

  • Endui: 
  • Featuring a blood alcohol calculator, contact list, taxi numbers, and reflex games, the app offers a complete stack of testing, prevention and rescue options for drunk drivers. 

  • Alcohoot:
  • It is amazingly functional as it turns your smartphone into a working breathalyzer. 

  • AlcoDroid:
  • Available for Android, this tool helps to make estimation of alcohol levels in your blood. 

Considering the rise in incidents caused by careless driving of drunk drivers, it’s so important to take strong measures for the prevention of life-threatening situations. MotorHappy applauds automakers such as Nissan, as well as the South African Police Department, for taking these important steps to help ensure the safety of all road users.


Ultimately, the decision to get behind the wheel while under the influence of alcohol lies entirely with the driver. In South Africa today there are many alternative options – Uber is readily available, and many vehicle insurance companies offer access to taxi services to help get you home safe. Does your insurance offer this service? Let MotorHappy shop around for the best insurance quote for your needs and your budget. We make it easier to find the best insurance company by sourcing quotes from some of South Africa’s leading insurance providers. 

Disclaimer

This article is intended to be used and must be used for informational purposes only. We do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability and accuracy of this information. Any action you take upon the information in this article is strictly at your own risk. We will not be liable for any losses and/or damages in connection with the use of the information contained in this article.

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