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New Temporary Tattoo May Curb Drunk Driving

With drunk driving and drunk driving accidents being such an epidemic in the United States and the rest of the world, scientists and law enforcement agencies are constantly looking for new ways and technology to help curb this epidemic.  While breath-testing equipment has come a long way, it is still mainly used to convict people for drunk driving after the arrest or accident and is not a preventative measure.

phoneThere are vehicle breath ignition interlock devices that will not allow a car to start without the driver blowing a clean sample, but there are various ways to defeat this technology.  We have even seen cases where repeat drunk drivers with ignition interlock devices will have their child illegally sit in the front seat, so he or she can blow into the device instead of the driver.

A recent news article from CBS takes a look at a piece of new technology that is still very much in the experimental stage that could prevent a person from driving drunk.  It is actually a wearable temporary tattoo that can detect one’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) and report it to an app that will tell the user they are too intoxicated to legally drive.  Skins sensors that can detect alcohol are not new.  You may have heard of a SCRAM bracelet, which has been used in California in cases where celebrities are on probation.  The SCRAM is a bracelet attached to the leg of person on probation or subject to pretrial conditions that contains anti-tamper mechanisms like a GPS ankle monitor.  The device can sense the alcohol level in a person’s sweat and report if they have been drinking.  The reason these are not used more often is because they are very expensive, and the defendants would typically be required to pay the cost.

This new biosensor tattoo is being created by a research university in California and is designed so that people can apply the tattoo themselves and then set up their smart phone to read the measurements being taken by the tattoo.  The app will then tell them if they are safe to drive or not.  While this is not a law enforcement technology, the hope is that it will help people with impaired judgment make the right decision.

As our Boston drunk driving accident attorneys have seen in far too many cases, those who drink and drive often exhibit very poor judgment. The question is whether people would actually wear these temporary tattoos and whether they would heed the device warnings that they are too intoxicated to drive.

While it is not known how many people would use them, even it saved a single life, that would be very meaningful to the potential victim and his or her family so it could be considered a worthwhile endeavor.

As for the how the technology works, the tattoo, while no thicker than any other temporary tattoo, is actually a complete biosensor patch that has a flexible WIFI antenna to send and receive signals from the user’s smart phone. Since the device can only measure alcohol in sweat, it contains a chemical that induces seat in the wearer under the tattoo.  The tattoo “Tissue Chip” then senses the amount of electrochemical activity coming from the skin, since sweat is a conductor of electricity.

If you or someone you love has been injured a Boston drunk driving accident, call for a free and confidential appointment at 1-888-367-2900.

Additional Resources:

Could a biosensor “tattoo” help stop drunk driving?, October 19, 2016, By Brian Mastroianni, CBS News

More Blog Entries:

Report: Possible Tougher Drunk Driving Laws in Massachusetts, March 30, 2016, Boston Drunk Driving Accident Lawyer Blog