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Russian company develops new remote sobriety test system for drivers, blocking them from using vehicle if alcohol is detected

Russian company develops new remote sobriety test system for drivers, blocking them from using vehicle if alcohol is detected
Drunken driving may finally become a thing of the past if a pioneering Russian technology becomes widespread. It's been proposed that a new remote sobriety test should start being fitted in cars across the country by December.

According to its creators, the new system will initially be limited to public transport and commercial drivers, who will require approval from the machine before turning on their engines. The device will be equipped with facial recognition tech, a thermometer, and a breathalyzer, according to developers MedPoint24 and NtechLab – part of the Russian state-owned Rostec Group of Companies which specialize in high-tech industrial products. Two versions of the machine will be available, costing up to 180,000 rubles ($2,300).

Yekaterina Galustyan, the lead marketer of MedPoint24, told Moscow business daily Vedomosti that companies which adopt the technology will immediately be notified of the presence of excess alcohol in a driver's system. The machine is expected to halve the time of a medical examination from five minutes to two and a half.

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Similar alcohol interlock systems are already in place around the world, though usually only for citizens who have been caught drink driving, or employees carrying passengers. In Australia, for example, guilty drink drivers are required to spend $2,200 of their own money to have the machine fitted onto their car.

Prior to these new developments, Russian motorists had been all but without alcolocks – except for a brief trial program in Tatarstan and Ivanovo in 2010 which saw school busses fitted with a similar system.

But the practice may soon become more widespread. From 2022, all new vehicles produced in the European Union will be mandated to contain the devices.

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