Alcolaser

The Alcolaser is a laser device developed in Russia which is able to detect alcohol in vehicles as they pass by the device.

The device which has been dubbed “BOUTON” (flower bud) was displayed at the International Exhibition of Police and Military equipment in Moscow in October.

The manufacturer claims that the device is capable of detecting  low levels of alcohol (ethanol) in vehicles passing by the device  at  speeds of  up to 150  km per hour,  works in all weather conditions and requires no complex maintenance.

The device is capable of scanning the cab of a vehicle in o.1 seconds from a distance of 25 meters.  Coupled with a plate reader it can capture the license plate of the vehicle in question which can then be transmitted by  Wi-Fi signal to police at another location.  Police can then stop the vehicle and perform further tests to determine if the driver is in fact impaired.

Impaired driving is a big problem in Russia.  In 2010 Russia experienced 11,000 accidents that involved impaired drivers.

The manufacturer and Russian police will be conducting  further tests on the device next year and it is anticipated that it will be deployed in Russia in 2012 or 2013.

The science behind the approach is not new.  At least one American company started working on a similar device in 1995 but as of now I am not aware of any similar product available on the North American Market.

At this time there is no indication as to the cost of the device.

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3 comments on “Alcolaser

  1. John Matthews says:

    IMHO, what is needed is a reasonably priced, ($200 or less), device which could be purchased for one’s personal use, and which could accurately measure one’s own blood alcohol level. If the accuracy of such a device could be monitored and endorsed for use by the local police and court system, and could carry a warranty for at least a few years, I believe that tens of thousands of people would buy and use this device in Winnipeg alone. Within a few months of use, an individual would be able to know exactly how much alcohol he could consume without surpassing the 0.05 legal limit. I believe that the vast majority of citizens would either limit their intake during an evening out, or seek alternate transportation if the limit were to be surpassed. It would also help eliminate the occasions when, due to other factors, the legal limit has been surpassed by less consumption than usual, and the individual might have to wait an hour or so, until the level was below the limit.

  2. Damian Turner says:

    In response to John Matthews’ comment, I would have to say that his way of thinking is in fact part of the problem. While the per se (statutorily allowed) limit is used by the courts to quantify the amount of ethyl alcohol in a person’s body, it is in fact the least important factor when looking at the problem. The real issue is IMPAIRMENT. The legal limit does little to combat the problem of impaired driving. Regardless of the quantity of alcohol in a person, if they are impaired, then they are committing an offence. Every person is different in how they react to alcohol, and every person reacts differently each time they consume alcohol, depending on a variety of factors including drinking experience; food consumption; fataigue; mood; etc. It doesn’t matter if the person has reached a level of only .03 (30 milligrams of alchohol in 100 millilitres of blood), if in the opinion of a police officer, that person’s ability to operate a vehicle is impaired.

    There are in my opinion several ways to approach the issue, one of which would involve reducing the per se limit to 0. That would virtually eliminate the segment of drivers who believe they can drink as much as they like as long as they don’t surpass the legal limit. The “grey area” is gone. That would have an initially huge effect on businesses such as restaurants that serve liquor and other licensed establishments. Another, perhaps more effect way to tackle the problem is to allow for random breath testing of anyone operating a vehicle, AND dedicate the appropriate police resources to the detection and apprehension of impaired drivers on a year-round basis.

    The parties that have the biggest stake (read MPI) need to step up and properly fund impaired driving enforcement, and police services need to get their collective heads out of the sand and dedicate the appropriate resources. But that’s another conversation….

  3. TRex says:

    In Russia the limit is 0. After living in Moscow for 5 years I can say with conviction that in spite of 0 tolerance and a voracious road police department (GAI) the problem of drunk driving persists. Drinking is a cultural problem and is present at all levels of their society..
    I’ll catch flak for this but I don’t think drunk driving is a huge problem in Canada.

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