Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) – A Vehicle Safety Technology Approach to Reducing Alcohol-Impaired Driving – A Status Update

Alcohol-impaired driving continues to take a significant toll among road users both in the United States and around the world. In 2021, an estimated 42,915 people died in motor vehicle traffic crashes, a 10.5% increase from 2020. The projection is the highest number of fatalities since 2005 and the largest annual percentage increase in the Fatality Analysis Reporting System’s (FARS) history. In 2020, in the U.S. alone, motor vehicle fatalities from crashes involving alcohol totaled 11,654, a 14% increase over 2019, which accounts for approximately 30% of all traffic fatalities in the US for the year. To better address this ongoing problem, in 2008 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety (ACTS) formed a cooperative research partnership to explore the feasibility, the potential benefits of, and the public policy challenges associated with the widespread use of non-invasive technologies to prevent alcohol-impaired driving. This partnership, known as the Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) Program has made great strides forward in the development of in-vehicle technologies that will measure blood or breath alcohol and may prevent alcohol-impaired drivers from driving their vehicles. Exploratory research in earlier phases of the program established the feasibility of two sensor approaches, breath- and touch-based, for in-vehicle use. The sensors have since been refined, in terms of both hardware and software, as the program strives to meet the performance specifications required for unobtrusive and reliable alcohol measurement. In late 2021 the program announced that the first zero-tolerance breath alcohol sensor product equipped with new alcohol detection technology will be available for open licensing in commercial vehicles. “Open licensing” means that the technology, which measures a driver’s breath alcohol concentration, will be made available to any product integrator for preparation into fleet vehicles. The breath sensor is designed for fleet operators implementing a zero-tolerance alcohol policy for their drivers, staff or employees. It requires a directed puff of breath and provides a “pass/fail” reading of the driver’s breath alcohol concentration. Currently the DADSS program is focused on transitioning the latest generations of consumer breath and touch sensors from research to product development. Numerous parallel research programs continue including sensor development, development of calibration processes, materials and instrumentation that will verify the technologies are meeting these elevated performance specifications, human subject testing in conditions that replicate those likely to be experienced in the real world, and real-world field trials in diverse settings. The goal for DADSS technologies is commercialization. This paper will outline the technological approaches and the status of the various DADSS research programs.


  • English

Media Info

  • Media Type: Web
  • Features: Figures; Maps; Photos; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 18p
  • Monograph Title: 27th International Technical Conference on the Enhanced Safety of Vehicles (ESV): Enhanced and Equitable Vehicle Safety for All: Toward the Next 50 Years

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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01893403
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: 23-0287
  • Files: TRIS, ATRI, USDOT
  • Created Date: Sep 18 2023 5:10PM