Sole supplier of Lion detection systems Alco-Safe recently completed the testing of its Lion Detection System (DS-20), which will soon be available for commercial use.
The system was tested on privately owned vehicles to resolve any issues before it is made available on the commercial market.
Engineering News reported in February 2015 that the Lion DS-20, a breathalyser fitted onto the starter of a car, would be essential to any large-scale operation trying to prevent accidents caused by drivers under the influence of alcohol. Although Alco-Safe received the Lion DS-20 in April last year, it will only be made available on the commercial market this year.
“We feel the system is now ready for the market,” says Alco-Safe MD Rhys Evans.
A vehicle fitted with a detection system requires a breath sample before starting. Evans explains that the system “intercepts the coil signal sent from the ignition to the car’s starter mechanism”. A positive alcohol reading will cause the relay to remain open which, in turn, will prevent the vehicle from starting.
Despite the product not having been used locally yet, Evans expects that the system will lead to “massive reductions” in accidents in the workplace, based on its success in Europe and the US.
Further, he is confident that it will contribute to a reduction in fuel consumption and component wear and tear that is caused by intoxicated drivers’ erratic driving.
Evans indicates that the high number of road deaths caused by drunk driving could be decreased by making the installation of the system a mandatory, legally enforceable requirement for the vehicles of drunk driving offenders, as is being done in the US.
The offender will be responsible for taking the vehicle for regular inspections to ensure that the system is working properly and that it has not been tampered with. The cost of having the system fitted in a private vehicle is about R10 000, but can be sold back to the agent, who could then sell it as a second-hand system at a lower price.
Further, the company aims to have the system included as part of the Road Transport Management System (RTMS) evaluation for trucks.
“We will engage with the RTMS on the benefits of this system,” concludes Evans.