Japan’s smokers and drivers
March 31st, 2007

“Wireless technology is taking aim at Japan’s lawbreakers,”this Scientific American article says.”By the end of 2008, more than 600,000 cigarette vending machines across Japan — where most teenagers get their smokes — will be installed with an electronic age-verification device”.Further,”technology is also helping keep roads free of drunk drivers.Transport companies are using mobile phones attached to Breathalyzers to make sure their employees aren’t driving while under the influence.With a device developed by mobile phone operator NTT DoCoMo <9437.T> and Tanita Corp., drivers breathe into the alcohol detector that connects to a cell phone for real-time reading of the alcohol content in their breaths.To verify that it is actually the driver breathing into the device, the process takes place while he and a supervisor are connected on a video call, during which they can also reiterate other safety rules.DoCoMo said it has sold 1,500 of the alcohol-sensors to 150 companies since their launch in June 2006. The sensors, which come with a special software, are sold on average for 90,000 yen each.A similar system made by rival operator KDDI <9433.T>, which uses e-mail instead of a video phone, is also equipped with GPS technology that helps companies keep track of drivers’ exact locations”.

Phone tech targets teen smokers, drunk drivers


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