Autos now built to foil drunken drivers

February 4, 2007 

S o you think you're not too drive to drunk?

Let's just see what your Japanese car has to say about that, Bubba.

Toyota is almost ready to roll out a car that can detect if you've had too much to drink by analyzing the boozy palm-sweat on your steering wheel.

And while Mel Gibson and half the cast of "Lost" are saying "About bloody time," there might be a few kinks.

Like how does it work if you're wearing gloves? No problem, engineers say.

The system also kicks in if it detects abnormal steering. There's even a camera that can determine if your eyes are glazed over as if dead-drunk or watching the State of the Union speech.

If the car decides you're too drunk to drive, it will slowly come to a stop, refuse to start again and then systematically call everyone you know on your cell phone and tell them what a big loser you are, including your mother and your boss.

Well, practically.

Cars are getting way smarter than people; that's nothing new. But the car becoming the parent is taking it to the next level.

I'm counting on the Japanese automakers to come up with a back seat outfitted with sensors that can tell whether or not your kid is lying when he says he's finished his homework.

Let's say the kid wants to go to play soccer.

You're on the way to the field to meet his buddies, when you casually ask, "Billy Bob, are you positive you've finished all your homework?"

If he says, "Yes," millions of tiny sweat sensors inside the seat will activate and the car will automatically steer itself to the nearest public library and refuse to return home until a series of current events questions administered by a woman wearing glasses on a chain have been successfully answered.

At this point, a Pokemon-like creature will emerge from its home under the dashboard long enough to call your kid a "Taurus Headed Poopy Pants."

Of course, the car could be programmed to save us from ourselves in other ways.

Say you're craving a foot-long hot dog and some tater tots from your favorite fast-food joint.

You slow down on approach, turn on the turn signal and, whoa, what's this?

The car inexplicably refuses to turn and delivers you, instead, to (horrors!) the nearest YMCA, seat sensors having detected that your rear end appears to be roughly the width of Poland.

Men could program the car to avoid furniture stores and any place of business that boasts of "free swatches."

Women could program it to avoid golf courses and "gentlemen's clubs."

The possibilities are endless.

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