Sobering up

September 11th, 2009 by Felicity Hughes

Suntory Fine Zero

Over the next three months Toyota will be testing a system to prevent drivers from starting their engines when inebriated. The onboard breathalyzer system will test the alcohol content in the driver’s breath before they start the vehicle. If the alcohol levels are high enough, the ignition will either lock or the driver will be given a warning.

Since the system will be tested nationwide on trucks from Toyota’s subsidiary company, Hino Motors, it appears that Toyota is targeting companies who need to check on the sobriety of their employees. However, considering Japan’s toughened stance on driving under the influence, it might not be long before we see them in ordinary consumer vehicles. And granted, while this isn’t a first for onboard breathalyzer tech (Nissan showcased an even more sophisticated onboard breathalyzer prototype back in 2007), Toyota might be closer to getting the show on the road.

In addition to stiffer penalties for DUI in Japan, regulations were even extended last summer to punish citizens for riding their bicycles when under the influence. Offenders can now face imprisonment of up to five years and fines of ¥1 million. While police officers are generally rather relaxed about enforcing certain road safety laws, such as allowing cyclists to ride on the sidewalks, according to an account in The Japan Times, the law regarding drunk cyclists in Japan is being taken seriously by both citizens and police.

At least the major beer brewers are tweaking their product ranges to jibe with the changing climate. Suntory is due to launch their new non-alcohol beer, Suntory Fine Zero, on Sept. 29, and it will be lined up next to Asahi’s Point Zero, on shelves since Sept. 1, and Kirin Free, which debuted early this year.

Tags: ,

Comments are closed.


Recent Posts

  • J-blip: Ipsa’s Face Melody

    Every face has a name, a story and . . . a song? That’s the idea behind cosmetic company Ipsa’s newest creation. We should, uh, take it at face value, but the company claims that its Face Melody program can measure the user’s appearance and write a unique tune based on their attributes. The application […]

  • Japan celebrates the GIFs that keep on giving

    GIFs — which stands for graphics interchange format, don’t you know — have made the Internet an even more enjoyable place than before, and we have the receipts to prove it. These digital designs were technological wonders back in the days of AOL and Netscape (Google it, kids). But they eventually went from high-tech animation […]

  • Smart absolutions: Send off your sins with just one click

    The two-step method to purification.

  • Attack of the plant hunters, green carnivores and fleshy girls

    Never promised you a rose garden, but how about a fleshy plant or a stag-horn fern?

  • Make 12th-century art using 21st-century tech

    The Choju-Giga, the famed animal caricature ink paintings displayed Kyoto’s Kozan-ji Temple have been captivating people for centuries. The four scrolls, which date to the 12th and 13th centuries and depict rabbits and monkeys getting into mischief, are often cited as the first manga comics in Japan’s history. Now art lovers can create their own […]

  • Fuji Rock bound? Make sure you survive in style

    A few items that will help you stay dry and happy during Fuji Rock Festival’s unpredictable weather.

  • Pokemon ages ungracefully with middle-aged ‘Ojisan Monsters’

    “Ojimon” is a new mobile game where players can catch middle-aged pocket monsters and make them do their bidding.

  • The new face of Japanese beauty products

    A wise woman once said that beauty is pain, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be boring. With designer face masks, even the simple act of skin moisturizing can become fun. Face masks rose to popularity after the 2011 Korean BB Cream craze. Over the past four years, the “lazy girl” alternative to […]

  • Dominique Ansel caters to Tokyo’s (semi)sweet tooth with cronuts and s’more

    Long queues will mark the spot where Dominique Ansel wil be serving a vast array of creative desserts and, of course, his famed Cronut.

  • Load up YouTube because it’s morphin’ time!

    Summon your Megazord because the Power Rangers are heading to YouTube — and it’s all in Japanese. “Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers” was a hit children’s show back in the ‘90s that featured campy acting, ridiculous monsters and possibly the best theme song of all time. It was actually based on the long-running “Super Sentai” TV […]