First Volvo unveiled a new driver-distraction warning system, now the company is presenting a fully integrated in-car alcolock system called Alcoguard. Scheduled to be introduced as an option for the XC60 to begin with, and then the S80, V70 and XC70 models early next year, the new system will require drivers to blow into a wireless hand-held unit that analyzes their breath in order to start the car. If the driver’s blood-alcohol limit exceeds a predetermined level the engine simply won’t start.

It's expected Volvo will charge around $1000 for the option.

According to Volvo, one in three fatalities in Europe is alcohol related and around 3,000 people in the UK alone are killed or seriously injured each year in drink drive collisions. The new Alcoguard system employs the same fuel-cell technology used by the majority of police forces in Europe. Thanks to advanced sensors, it isn’t possible to use external air sources such as a pump to cheat the system but it can’t prevent people other than the driver starting up the car.

Both Toyota and Nissan are developing their own on-board breathalyzers, but it appears Volvo will be the first mainstream carmaker to market the product.

Volvo XC60 Crossover