According to MADD ( Mothers Against Drunk Driving), “Crashes involving alcohol and/or drugs are a leading criminal cause of death in Canada. Every day, on average, up to 4 Canadians are killed and many more are injured in alcohol and/or drug-related motor vehicle crashes on public roads.

In 2014, road crashes claimed an estimated 2,297 lives. Based on testing of fatally-injured drivers, it may be estimated that 1,273 (55.4%) of these deaths resulted from crashes in which an individual was positive for alcohol and/or drugs.

  • 299 deaths, or 13%, occurred in crashes involving individuals who were positive for alcohol alone.
  • 618 deaths, or 26.9%, occurred in crashes involving individuals who were positive for drugs alone.
  • 356 deaths, or 15.5%, occurred in crashes involving individuals who were positive for both alcohol and drugs.“

Could we do more to prevent drunk driving incidents from happening? The government has invested millions into educating the public, raising awareness and prevention programs to help reduce the cases of drinking and driving. It is still not enough. Perhaps the use of technology can help build a solution to help the fight for MADD.

Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign are testing out the use of wearables to measure drunkenness of a person through sweat on the skin. The measurement (via a watch with sensors) would trigger an alert to the potential driver to not proceed with driving their car. The way it works is a wristband’s sensor collects data on raw transdermal alcohol concentration (TAC). This is essentially the amount of ethanol on the sweat through your skin. The key is to correlate the TAC to the Blood Alcohol Level ( BAC).  There are still a lot of issues to work out. For example, the amount of time it takes a person to sweat out a drink they just had or perhaps external factors that might cause the data to be unreliable.

Another example of how wearables can help prevent injury preemptively.

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