The key to preventing drunk driving

Senior Saab executives and Swedish car-fleet and taxi operators are to participate in user trials for the Saab AlcoKey, an alcohol breath test unit which prevents people from driving over the limit.



The six-month user trial will involve about 100 cars. It is the final step in a two-year development program that has focused on miniaturising the unit to its current small size and maximising battery longevity.



Announcing the user trial program, in which he will take part as well, Saab Automobile Managing Director Jan-Åke Jonsson said: ‘Car crashes and personal injuries due to drunk driving remain a great concern and Saab wants to do what it can to help prevent this.’



‘We have listened to car-fleet operators in Sweden, particularly those running public or taxi services,’ Jonsson said. ‘They want to demonstrate their social responsibility and provide some public reassurance by giving drivers access to a device such as Saab’s AlcoKey.’



The size of a small mobile phone, the Saab AlcoKey module incorporates a cap covering a mouthpiece where the driver provides a breath sample before starting the car. A radio transmitter then sends a signal to the car’s electronic control unit that will either allow the car to be started or remain immobilised if the breath sample is found to contain alcohol above the permitted legal level.



The AlcoKey is currently intended only for the Swedish market. It meets increasing demand in Sweden among car fleet operators and public service providers for an effective means of ensuring drivers cannot operate the vehicle if their blood/alcohol level is over the limit.