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Toyota, Hino to Test Ignition-Interlock in Japan

September 02, 2009

TOKYO, JAPAN --- Toyota Motor Corp. and Hino Motors Ltd. (Hino) announced plans to jointly test a breathalyzer ignition-interlock system under development by Toyota. 

Designed to prevent drunk driving, the system will be installed on selected trucks and other Japanese commercial fleet vehicles, and tested from Sept. 1 to Nov. 30, Toyota said.

The tests will verify system functionality, particularly its ease-of-use in real-world situations. Tests will include drivers conducting self-breath tests before they operate a vehicle. After vehicle use, fleet administrators will monitor and verify the test results automatically recorded on the vehicle's digital tachograph. 

The system features a hand-held unit containing both a breathalyzer that can detect alcohol in a small breath sample and a digital camera that photographs the driver's face for test-taker identification. If the test result is positive, the system either warns the driver or locks the vehicle's ignition, depending on the level of alcohol detected. 

The system thus prevents drivers from operating vehicles in an inebriated state, while follow-up instructions given by fleet administrators aim to further reduce the possibility of alcohol-related traffic accidents. 

In conjunction with the tests to be conducted by Toyota and Hino, the Japanese Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transportation and Tourism (MLIT) will install the system in a vehicle under lease from Toyota and conduct tests during everyday use. 

Toyota and Hino plan to provide results from the testing to an MLIT council on new technologies to prevent drunk driving, while Toyota also intends to apply the test results to improving the system, the automaker said.

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