# Technology Could End Drunk Driving

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Actually, we can plug in real numbers now and figure this out! Thanks @Double Mocha Man. I'm going to use trips because I'm assuming this device will require a test for every car trip.

According to this CDC study, there are 121 million trips ever year taken in the US under the influence of alcohol. Note that the study doesn't say that means these people are necessarily over the .08 limit, but let's assume that they are.

According the National Household Travel Survey, Americans take 411 billion trips per year.

So that means the probability of a single trip being done by a drunk driver is 121,000,000/411,000,000,000. That equals .00029. That means .029% of trips are by a drunk driver. That's actually higher than I thought. That means ~3 of every 10,000 trips is driven by a drunk driver.

If can I find the false positive and false negative rates for interlock devices, we can figure this out. I'm trying to find that.

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If can I find the false positive and false negative rates for interlock devices, we can figure this out. I'm trying to find that.

Well, I can't find these rates. Let's just plug in some numbers and see what happens.

Probability that a driver is drunk: .00029

Probability that a driver is sober: 99971

Let's assume a 0.1% false positive and false negative rate like I did earlier.

P(DD | +) = (P(+ | DD)*P(DD))/((P+ | DD)*P(DD)+P(+ | SD)*P(SD))

P(DD | +) = ((.999)*(.00029))/((.999)*(.00029)+(.001)*(.99971))

P(DD | +) = .22468

Given a 99.9% accurate test, the probability that a positive test would mean a drunk driver is ~22.5%.

If the test is 99.99% accurate, that probability is ~74.4%.

Even with that 74% probability for a 99.99% accurate test, you still have to consider the costs and the benefits. I.e., what are the costs of 1 drunk driving trip? What are costs of not being to drive sober when you get a false positive? It's very complicated, because not all drunk drives cause accidents, right?

Bottom line, if you can get an extremely accurate test, then we can talk.

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Absolutely not. All responsible drivers should not be burdened by the poor decisions making ability of the few.

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If drunk drivers were more frequent

You mean drunk drivers that caused a problem and were caught. We have no idea how many ‘drunk drivers’ there are.

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2 hours ago, Double Mocha Man said:

Whew Dead!  Not sure if your statistics jive with this: Each day, people drive drunk more than 300,000 times, but only about 3200 are arrested.

Arrest data: Federal Bureau of Investigation, “Crime in the United States: 2014” https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2014/crime-in-the-u.s.-2014/tables/table-29 Incidence data: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Alcohol-Impaired Driving Among Adults — United States, 2012.” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. August 7, 2015 / 64(30);814-817. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm6430a2.htm

There are currently 270,000,000 vehicles registered in the US currently. Using a conservative estimate of 3 drives/car/day (averaging out to slightly more than each car commuting to and from work each day) that would be 760,000,000 drives each day, of which only 300,000 have a drunk driver.

In other words, the probability of any given drive having a drunk driver is 0.00039 - directly in line with the estimate made by @DeadMan

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4 hours ago, Pretzel said:

I'd go with this system over either of those. I have seen automatic braking systems malfunction before and it turns catastrophic in an instant. The incredibly unfortunate part is that automatic braking systems also have a disturbingly high number of ways they can be fooled. The two I have seen personally were leaves covering up the sensor (slammed the brakes on someone in town and caused a collision) and bugs from I-70 covering the sensor (the car locked up and the brakes remained engaged until the sensor covering could be cleaned).

As far as GPS-enforced speed limits, this also introduces danger on the roads. It prevents drivers from making effective evasive maneuvers when driving at the speed limit. Malfunctions for this system would also be incredibly dangerous, considering the number one cause of traffic accidents is a differential in speed between the two cars that collided. If one car is limited to 10mph under the speed limit because their GPS glitched out then they just became a sitting duck on the road, though not as bad as the automatic braking malfunction.

I'm fine with mandatory safety measures that don't risk lives compared to the alternative of not having them, such as seat belts and air bags. If those fail you may die, but if they fail you are no worse off than you would have been if the safety measures were never installed.

I draw the line at mandatory safety measures that will actively risk your safety or life when they fail. Automatic braking systems that will slam the brakes in highway traffic. GPS-enforced speed limits that can hamper evasive maneuvers and cause the same symptoms as automatic braking system failures (if an error displays a limit lower than the true limit). And yes, mandatory BAC interlock devices for law-abiding citizens that can leave them stranded and stuck with a very costly repair bill in the best case scenario and death in the worst case scenario.

If we want to talk about personal anecdotes about why it's incredibly important to be able to start you vehicle at any time, I've got the perfect example of how this can risk lives in real scenarios that actually happen.

When I was 17 I took the bus with my friends down to the annual Denver Avalanche game and we hung out at the 16th Street Mall afterwards until we caught the last bus back to where our cars were parked. Having parked in opposite corners we parted ways getting off the bus and went to our cars, my friends having no issues driving home. I, on the other hand, had some trouble with starting my vehicle. You see that year the temperature was 15 degrees below zero and my car was an old (1979) Mercedes 240D diesel. Diesel engines don't particularly like the cold, so I cycled the glow plugs several times before trying to start. No dice, so I repeated that. This went on until my car battery died at around 2 AM, and the worst part of it was that stupidly I was only wearing jeans, a t-shirt, and a sweatshirt with no jacket or coat. The buses had finished their schedules and the park and ride was empty (I was the last car) in the middle of nowhere without areas I could take shelter nearby. I was lucky to have a mylar blanket and a comforter in the trunk of my car that I kept there only because my Grandpa insisted I'd need them if I was ever stranded in the cold.

I wasn't able to get assistance at my location until 5:30 that morning because it was located in the mountain, a lovely cell phone dead zone. 3.5 hours spent in -15 degree weather with only jeans and a sweatshirt. Even sitting in my car without exposure to wind I would have risked frostbite in 30 minutes or less, and that temperature presents a high risk of hypothermia even with proper winter clothing. While wearing winter clothing at that temperature you'll lose one degree of core body temperature about every 30 minutes, sooner if you have no hat. Below 95 degrees (2 hours) is the beginning of hypothermia, below 93 degrees (3 hours) is when amnesia sets in. Profound hypothermia is 90 degrees (4.5 hours) and you'll find yourself no longer even shivering to keep warm. At 86 degrees (6.5 hours) your heart starts to pump arrhythmically. At 85 degrees (7 hours) you'll rip off your clothes for your final minutes of life. Those times are for proper winter clothing.

When an ignition interlock device fails, it WILL kill people in the mountains every single year. People who went camping, skiing, hiking, or hunting and get back to their car in the evening only to have it refuse to start. Cell service is sparse at best in these areas, meaning only those prepared with extra blankets/gear and the ability to start fires will survive through the night without heat from their vehicle. I say when, not if, because the failure rate will be above 0%. 15 million new cars are sold each year, and if the failure rate is 0.01% annually then you'd see 1,500 failures in the first year, growing by another 1,500 every year and providing 1,500 more opportunities to kill in either what was described or other scenarios.

This is exactly why using emotional arguments is dumb, because realistically the number of deaths would be small but a personal anecdote carries additional weight. The point is that any deaths that directly result from a safety device are unacceptable even if that safety device may save lives in other circumstances. Trading lives of innocent and law-abiding citizens because of a small number of criminals is morally reprehensible on every level.

Wow, that’s a very strong opinion on these technologies!

My friends working at Google and Tesla, don’t really feel that negatively, but it’s a tough call for me as well. That’s kind of the direction of the technology though. ML is not perfect but it’s better than inattentive or debilitated humans... 😁

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1 hour ago, Pretzel said:

There are currently 270,000,000 vehicles registered in the US currently. Using a conservative estimate of 3 drives/car/day (averaging out to slightly more than each car commuting to and from work each day) that would be 760,000,000 drives each day, of which only 300,000 have a drunk driver.

In other words, the probability of any given drive having a drunk driver is 0.00039 - directly in line with the estimate made by @DeadMan

This is a bad calculation because many people have more than 1 vehicle. For me, I have 3, two motorcycles and a car, and I don't think I have ever taken all 3 out in the same day, let alone 3 times each. A better metric would be 3x licensed drivers.

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7 minutes ago, Lihu said:

My friends working at Google and Tesla, don’t really feel that negatively, but it’s a tough call for me as well. That’s kind of the direction of the technology though. ML is not perfect but it’s better than inattentive or debilitated humans... 😁

Give it another 3-5 years and I might feel the same. Some tech within that umbrella is ready to go out and be a commercial success, but I've done enough work with some of the latest and greatest for machine learning algorithms to know I don't want it touching anything critical safety related just yet. Computer vision is something that many people have a pretty good handle on and there's fresh data coming in often enough that 1-3 missed detections aren't going to cause any noticeable affects. Machine learning is quite a bit more difficult and most practical applications using it are currently "stuck" in that 80-90% of the way there phase that's good enough to show real promise but not good enough to release to the public. Funny enough it's a lot easier to teach an AI to play a video game than it is to teach them to do something like control a temperature.

7 minutes ago, Bonvivant said:

This is a bad calculation because many people have more than 1 vehicle. For me, I have 3, two motorcycles and a car, and I don't think I have ever taken all 3 out in the same day, let alone 3 times each. A better metric would be 3x licensed drivers.

It wasn't all that far off it turns out, the real number was 0.00029 compared to my estimate of 0.00039. The reason I said 3 trips per registered car on average is because while there are a lot of cars that sit (multiple cars for one driver, or the driver isn't using it that day) there are also plenty of cars that are moving all day possibly with multiple different drivers. Figured it probably averaged out somewhere in that 3-4 trips per car range and it looks like that's correct (since 4 trips per car would give a probability of 0.00028. 4 trips per car per day would've been the best guess it seems.

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Just now, Pretzel said:

It wasn't all that far off it turns out, the real number was 0.00029 compared to my estimate of 0.00039. The reason I said 3 trips per registered car on average is because while there are a lot of cars that sit (multiple cars for one driver, or the driver isn't using it that day) there are also plenty of cars that are moving all day possibly with multiple different drivers. Figured it probably averaged out somewhere in that 3-4 trips per car range and it looks like that's correct (since 4 trips per car would give a probability of 0.00028. 4 trips per car per day would've been the best guess it seems.

Fair enough. I wouldn't have the slightest guess on average trips per licensed driver, but I would think that using driver instead of car would be more accurate.

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I hate to feed the sharks, but here goes.  This is the elephant in the room (car) and nobody has noticed it yet.  THC, meth, cocaine... other stuff; people are driving with this in their systems.  And they're killing people.  This new technology doesn't even account for that.  It's close but they still haven't come up with a breathalyzer to detect THC levels in your system and most states haven't yet settled on an amount in your system that impairs driving.  It's not like measuring alcohol.  Though I'm still on board with your car testing you for impairment levels of alcohol.

And here's an idea... instead of the system bricking your car how about if it shows you register above the legal limit then that info is forwarded to the local police and state patrol along with your plate number and your GPS location.  That way only the truly guilty are caught and Pretzel can get out of that Denver parking garage... with a newer car of course, not diesel so his injectors and fuel lines clog with diesel gel.  P.S.  I drove that same 240D for years, though a one year older model.

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7 minutes ago, Double Mocha Man said:

And here's an idea... instead of the system bricking your car how about if it shows you register above the legal limit then that info is forwarded to the local police and state patrol along with your plate number and your GPS location.  That way only the truly guilty are caught and Pretzel can get out of that Denver parking garage... with a newer car of course, not diesel so his injectors and fuel lines clog with diesel gel.  P.S.  I drove that same 240D for years, though a one year older model.

Awesome. So now when my car sensor malfunctions the police are going to pull me over and/or arrest me though I’ve done nothing wrong. Sign me up!!!</sarcasm>

Oy. No.

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16 minutes ago, iacas said:

Awesome. So now when my car sensor malfunctions the police are going to pull me over and/or arrest me though I’ve done nothing wrong. Sign me up!!!</sarcasm>

Oy. No.

No.  They're going to look for you, maybe pull you over and ONLY arrest you if you blow over .08.

The best part of that idea being that if you know you're drunk and you choose to drive anyway you're an easy target for law enforcement.  I think it would deter a lot of people.

Edited by Double Mocha Man

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16 minutes ago, Double Mocha Man said:

It's close but they still haven't come up with a breathalyzer to detect THC levels in your system and most states haven't yet settled on an amount in your system that impairs driving.  It's not like measuring alcohol.

It's not even close really, we aren't anywhere near being able to do that yet because we don't even know how to measure how high someone is with blood draws and the most advanced testing possible.

The problem is that you can't test for metabolites of THC because they remain in your system for weeks on end. It's because THC/metabolites are nice and soluble in lipids (fat), which means they store themselves away inside your fat reserves and don't rinse out as easy as the water-soluble alcohol. The other complicating factor is that current tests don't really tell you anything about how much of these metabolites are present in urine or saliva, they're just a strict yes/no because measuring the levels has never been necessary before (when it was still locally illegal). The only tests that can currently measure the quantities are blood draws, but then you can't go drawing blood at every traffic stop nor does the quantity of metabolites give you any real useful information. The information about quantities is useless because different people have WILDLY different perspectives when the same amount of metabolites are present, it's not like alcohol where there's a nice clean scale.

Basically you have to rely on roadside sobriety tests at the moment, because police have no other methods of detecting impairment from marijuana.

3 minutes ago, Double Mocha Man said:

No.  They're going to look for you, maybe pull you over and ONLY arrest you if you blow over .08.

So now my car's malfunction will give police reason to pull me over, and I'd be willing to bet they'd also use it as probable cause to search your vehicle just because when you blew sober on the breathalyzer. Your car also now has a direct line to the police, meaning they have a direct line back to you. Grown adults don't need to have police constantly babysit them, and doing that won't solve any issues because it'll stretch police resources too thin to accomplish anything useful.

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6 minutes ago, Double Mocha Man said:

No.  They're going to look for you, maybe pull you over and ONLY arrest you if you blow over .08.

Uhm, no thank you. To ALL of that.

Ridiculous position to take, IMO.

I think you’re secretly a No voter because you’re doing such an awesome job of tanking the “yes” side of the argument.

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15 minutes ago, iacas said:

Uhm, no thank you. To ALL of that.

Ridiculous position to take, IMO.

I think you’re secretly a No voter because you’re doing such an awesome job of tanking the “yes” side of the argument.

Touche.  On the "no" voter thing.  But like I said... feeding the sharks.  I'm trying to find a middle ground for you guys but it seems like human lives come in second place to your need for total accuracy and fear of inconvenience.

Edited by Double Mocha Man

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9 minutes ago, Double Mocha Man said:

Touche.  On the "no" voter thing.  But like I said... feeding the sharks.  I'm trying to find a middle ground for you guys but it seems like human lives come in second place to your need for total accuracy and fear of inconvenience.

Nope. That is troll-level phrasing there.

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53 minutes ago, iacas said:

Uhm, no thank you. To ALL of that.

Ridiculous position to take, IMO.

I think you’re secretly a No voter because you’re doing such an awesome job of tanking the “yes” side of the argument.

Lol! Yep.

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1 hour ago, Double Mocha Man said:

I'm trying to find a middle ground for you guys but it seems like human lives come in second place

Right. That’s why I’ve spent over 25 years Saving, repairing and improving them. Please....what an asinine comment.

Edited by Vinsk

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