We talked about the initiative a while ago, but Nissan is working on a new car with a slew of features to stop those who've drank a bit too much from getting behind the wheel. Instead of Breathalyzer proper, the car uses more user-passive indicators.

Odor sensors will detect the smell of booze permeating from your body, while the shifter will detect perspiration levels. If you fail the drunken tests, it will be difficult to start your car. (Note: These settings actually need to be tweaked, since they can detect as little as one beer on a driver.)

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A mounted camera scans the eyes for hints of dozing, while external sensors detect if the car is leaving its lane improperly. In the case of extreme drowsiness, the car offers a verbal warning to pull over, and will tighten seatbelts to better protect passengers.

Nissan believes that by 2015 the improvements could cut driving fatalities to half their 1995 levels...though I wonder what the comparison would be to 2005 levels, which would seem more apt. Either way, good stuff all around. A round on me to celebrate! [reuters]