While there isn’t a computer around that can actually prevent a person from getting behind the wheel of their car after they’ve been drinking, a computer algorithm has been developed to recognize drunk people. Chances are, if someone’s drunk they’re more likely to be sitting at a bar or hanging out in a group of people than sitting behind their computer. However, the Greek researchers who developed this new program believe it could be installed in cars in order to prevent drunk driving.
Computers Can Read a Person’s Drunkenness
So how does the program work? Well, alcohol makes blood vessels relax and widen. And drinking enough alcohol can cause cheeks to flush. The redness and warmth of a person’s face are recognized by the algorithm to determine their level of drunkenness.
The developers took thermal images of the participants in their research both before and after drinking four glasses of wine, and all had reached a BAC of at least 0.05. The researchers compared the sober and drunken faces, ultimately determining that the temperature of a person’s nose and forehead were the best indicators of their level of intoxication. This information was used to build an algorithm to determine who was drunk and who was sober. The computer had a 90 percent accuracy rate, even on new faces and on faces where it didn’t know what the person looked like sober.
Free Will Still Trumps Computers
Even if someone is in front of their computer screen, no algorithm is going to override their decision to put those keys in the ignition and attempt to drive somewhere. Kayla Mendoza, in November 2013, tweeted that she was “2 drunk 2 care” from her Twitter account a few hours before causing a head-on crash by driving the wrong way on the Sawgrass Expressway in Fort Lauderdale. The crash killed two 21-year-old women. Mendoza – 22 years old now – wasn’t legally old enough to drink when the crash occurred.
Mendoza pled guilty to two counts of DUI manslaughter and was sentenced earlier this month to over 20 years in prison. She had a blood alcohol level of 0.15 at the time of the auto accident. The legal driving limit is 0.08, but even a 0.05 BAC raises the risk of getting in a car crash by almost 40 percent.
The reality is that drunk driving is still an epidemic on American highways. If you have been involved in an auto accident because of someone else’s drunk driving, contact Femminineo Attorneys PLLC to speak with personal injury attorney David C. Femminineo about your case.