2015 New York Motor Show: Alcohol interlocks for future Chevrolets, Holdens

General Motors alcohol interlock

HOLDEN appears set to benefit from plans to develop alcohol interlocks for future Chevrolets, among other General Motors brands.

The feature is set to be added to the Teen Driver feature that will debut on the next generation Chevrolet Malibu, a car that will share some components with the next generation Holden Commodore due in 2018.

“We can do lots of things with it,” said Mark Reuss, GM’s executive vice-president of global product development.

“A lot of accidents can happen around alcohol. I’m pushing for that interlock piece, I really want it.”

Reuss said extensive development work had already started on an in-car interlock, which could prevent the car being driven if alcohol was detected on the driver.

However he said there were challenges ensuring it was “100 percent”.

Those challenges revolve around only detecting alcohol on the breath of the driver, not other occupants, and ignoring alcohol that may have been spilled elsewhere in the car or on a passenger.

“It’s got to be perfect in the car, that’s where we are,” said Reuss. “In a car environment it’s way tougher [than with other alcohol testing procedures].”

GM’s Teen Driver system can provide the vehicle owner with a report that outlines how far the car travelled, the maximum speed it hit, whether the speed limit was broken and whether any of the car’s active safety features were activated. It also stops music playing through the sound system if the seatbelt hasn’t been buckled.

The car maker says it is aimed at drivers aged under 20, with the aim of assisting with the driver training process and reinforcing safe driving while they are least experienced.

Global Chevrolet boss Alan Batey said the Teen Driver system had potential beyond its current functionality.

“We’re trying to make sure safety is the number one objective and make sure the data is collected in a way there’s very seamless and not distracting for the driver,” said Batey.

“This is the beginning. We don’t have other features to announce at this point, but you can imagine our engineers and scientists are continuing to evolve this, so it will get stronger and better as we go forward.”

Reuss said safety was becoming more important on new cars, especially ones aimed at families.

“It’s a huge selling point,” he said. “I think it’s going to be more of a selling point across any [future] car and truck that’s produced.

“There will be segments out there … you can’t be in deficient in safety, but you maybe don’t have to lead. I think we’ve got to lead on these car segments for Chevrolet every time, all the time.”

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