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The Mercury Cars Guide : September 12th 2009
Saturday, September 12, 2009 Classifieds 62 300 400 • carsguide.com.au ---13 Toyota leads in booze-ban stakes YOU BOOZE, YOU LOSE: The Toyota breath-alcohol ignition-interlock system includes a camera to prevent someone other than the driver from taking the breath test. In-car breathalysers have been on the cards for some time and now Toyota is taking the innovation to the next level SAAB may have invented the first ignition key that stops drink-drivers from driving, but Toyota has taken the idea a step further. Saab's Alcokey concept was cre- ated in 2004 and submitted to wide- ranging tests in Sweden, funded partly by the National Swedish Road Administration. It was expected to be released as an optional extra costing about $500 and available in most Saab models with- in two years in Europe. However, Saab Australia senior product planner Derek Tsao said the program had been put on hold --- for now. ''The official word is that the Alcokey is on hold as we finalise the re-structure of the new Saab, then it is planned to be introduced into the next generation of vehicles,'' he said. He said Saab did not clarify the timeframe. Meanwhile, Toyota has produced a similar key that prevents drink- drivers from starting their car and says it will be available in Australia in a couple of years. The Saab and Toyota devices require the driver to blow into the key fob device. If it detects an illegal alcohol reading, it locks the ignition. The Saab key will not mobilise again until a suitable breath sample is supplied, but does not prevent someone else in the car blowing for the driver. Toyota has solved this problem by including a digital camera in the hand-held breathalyser. It photo- graphs the driver's face to prevent a false reading from someone other than the driver. Toyota is testing the device with its wholly owned truck subsidiary, Hino Motors. The breath-alcohol ignition- interlock system is designed to help companies and organisations man- age their fleet-vehicle operations. It will be installed on selected trucks and other vehicles of Japa- nese transport companies and tested during the next three months. The tests will verify system func- tionality, particularly ease of use in real-life situations. While other alcohol-detecting de- vices exist, they are fitted to the dashboard or door locks and not the ignition key. MARK HINCHLIFFE
September 5th 2009
September 19th 2009