Publications

As with any research and development effort, the DADSS Research Program has published findings throughout the process. In the links below, you can access these articles and research papers, published from 2009 through the present.

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Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) – A Status Update

Report to Congress
2016 In-Vehicle Alcohol Detection Research
Publication Year: 2019

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety (ACTS) began research in February 2008 to try to find potential in–vehicle approaches to the problem of alcohol-impaired driving. Members of ACTS comprise motor vehicle manufacturers representing approximately 99 percent of light vehicle sales in the U.S. This cooperative research partnership, known as the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) Program, is exploring the feasibility, the potential benefits, and the public policy challenges of more widespread use of non-invasive technology to prevent alcohol-impaired driving. The 2008 Cooperative Agreement between NHTSA and ACTS (2008 Cooperative Agreement) for Phases I and II outlined a program of research to assess the state of detection technologies that are capable of measuring blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) and to support the creation and testing of prototypes and subsequent hardware that could be installed in vehicles.

Development of a Solid State, Non-Invasive, Human Touch Based Blood Alcohol Sensor

Proceedings of the 25th International Technical Conference on the Enhanced Safety of Vehicles
Paper Number 17–0036
Publication Year: 2017

This paper presents an update on the implementation of a touch-based optical sensor (TTT sensor) for monitoring the alcohol concentration in the driver of a vehicle. This novel sensor is intended to improve driver safety by providing a non-intrusive means of notifying a driver when their blood alcohol concentration may be too high to operate a vehicle safely. Details on implementation of the MARK2 system are presented along with updates on principles of the MARK3 version currently under development. Laboratory validation of the MARK2 system on standard calibration standards are presented along with discussion of next steps in validation of the technology. Updates on the demonstration vehicle implementation are also provided along with lessons learned in the implementation of the human-machine interface aspect of the design.

Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) – A Status Update

Proceedings of the 25th International Technical Conference on the Enhance Safety of Vehicles.
Paper Number 17–0271
Publication Year: 2017

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety (ACTS) began research in February 2008 to try to find potential in-vehicle approaches to the problem of alcohol-impaired driving. Members of ACTS comprise motor vehicle manufacturers representing approximately 99 percent of light vehicle sales in the U.S. This cooperative research partnership, known as the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) Program, is exploring the feasibility, the potential benefits of, and the public policy challenges associated with a more widespread use of non-invasive technology to prevent alcohol-impaired driving. The 2008 cooperative agreement between NHTSA and ACTS for Phases I and II outlined a program of research to assess the state of detection technologies that are capable of measuring blood alcohol concentration (BAC) or Breath Alcohol Concentration (BrAC) and to support the creation and testing of prototypes and subsequent hardware that could be installed in vehicles. Phase 3, funded under the 2013 cooperative agreement (2013 CA), and subsequent phases of research, outline further refinement of the technology. It will test how the instruments might operate in a vehicle, as well as perform basic and applied research to understand human interaction with the sensors both physiologically and ergonomically. At the completion of this effort a determination will be made with respect to the devices, whether the DADSS technologies can ultimately be commercialized. This paper will outline the technological approaches and program status.

Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) – Development of the Subsystem Performance Specifications

Proceedings of the 25th International Technical Conference on the Enhance Safety of Vehicles.
Paper Number 17–030
Publication Year: 2017

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety (ACTS) began research in February 2008 to try to find potential in-vehicle approaches to the problem of alcohol-impaired driving. Members of ACTS comprise motor vehicle manufacturers representing approximately 99 percent of light vehicle sales in the U.S. This cooperative research partnership, known as the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) Program, seeks to develop technologies that are less intrusive than the current in-vehicle breath alcohol measurement devices. Detection technology must be seamless (passive) with the driving task. It also must be able to quickly and accurately measure a driver’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in a non-invasive manner. These technologies will be a component of a system that may deter the vehicle from being driven when the device registers that the driver’s BAC exceeds the legal limit. Such devices ultimately must be compatible with mass-production at a moderate price, be durable, meet high levels of reliability, and require no maintenance. Therefore, the performance standards for the adoption of these devices among the general public, many of whom do not drink, let alone drink and drive, must be much more rigorous if they are to cause minimal inconvenience, and must deter the vehicle from being driven when the device registers that the driver’s BAC exceeds the legal limit (currently 0.08 g/dL throughout the United States).

To assess these technologies, detailed performance specifications were developed. The specifications were designed to focus the current and future development of relevant emerging and existing advanced alcohol detection technologies. In addition to requirements for a high level of accuracy and very fast time for measurement, the influences of environment, issues related to user acceptance, long-term reliability, and system maintenance are also addressed. The resulting list of specifications with definitions, measurement requirements, and acceptable performance levels are documented in the DADSS Subsystem Performance Specification Document1 . The accuracy and speed of measurement requirements adopted by the DADSS Program are much more stringent than currently available commercial alcohol measurement technologies are capable of achieving. Translating that to appropriate performance specifications was approached by calculating the potential for inconvenience if reliability, accuracy, and time for measurement were set at various levels.

Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) – Preliminary Human Testing Results

Proceedings of the 25th International Technical Conference on the Enhance Safety of Vehicles.
Paper Number 17–0304
Publication Year: 2017

Alcohol-related traffic crashes and deaths remain a major problem in the United States as 2014 data revealed that there were 32,675 traffic fatalities that year, with 31% of them being related to alcohol. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety (ACTS) began research in February 2008 aimed at identifying potential in-vehicle approaches to the problem of alcohol-impaired driving that are sensitive, reliable and less intrusive than ignition interlocks. The Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) was created, and two passive technologies based on breath- and touch (tissue)- based systems for detecting alcohol were selected to be tested against a research grade hand-held breathalyzer device and venous blood.

Healthy male and female volunteers (age 21-40) signed an Institutional Review Board (IRB)-approved informed consent and participated in experiments in which they consumed 0.9 g/kg of alcohol (vodka) under a variety of drinking regimens and scenarios that mimicked real-life situations. The volunteers then provided passive breath and tissue (i.e., finger touch) samples and had their blood drawn for subsequent quantification of alcohol via gas chromatography. The lag time of appearance of alcohol in each sample as well as peak concentration, time to peak, and elimination rate were the primary dependent variables. The overall aim of the experiments was to test whether the alcohol levels measured by the two prototype devices correlate with venous blood under the following scenarios: lag time, eating a snack, eating a full meal, exercising, and “last call”.

The lag time experiment revealed that the order of alcohol appearance after drinking was (from quickest to slowest): breath, blood, and tissue, although the early breath samples were contaminated by mouth alcohol. However, the concentration-time curves for both prototype devices paralleled that of blood. Similar profiles were observed in the “last call” experiment with a “surge” of alcohol being observed after an extra drink was consumed during the distribution phase. The exercise scenario revealed similar profiles, although the touch-based device registered a slightly higher alcohol level. Finally, the two eating scenarios indicated that blood alcohol concentrations were lower after consuming a meal compared to a snack, and breath and touch samples reflected these patterns.

The sample size of 10 individual participants is small, but individuals served as their own controls by participating in more than one experiment. Furthermore, the study is ongoing and so the sampling limitation will be addressed. The data support the proof-of-concept that passive technologies can detect alcohol quickly and are not affected by many of the common scenarios that alter blood alcohol concentrations. Such devices, if proven to be reliable and reproducible with additional human testing, represent a significant technological breakthrough in strategies to reduce alcohol-impaired individuals from driving a vehicle and causing injuries and/or deaths.