Toronto, Ontario – The Ontario government is investing almost $1.5 million in Sober Steering, a new technology that uses steering wheel-mounted sensors to detect alcohol and prevent impaired drivers from operating the vehicle.

The investment will be supplied through the Innovation Demonstration Fund, which helps companies commercialize promising new technologies by supporting them at the pilot or demonstration project stage. The funding is part of Ontario’s Innovation Agenda, a $3.2 billion commitment to turn ideas into jobs for the future and better lives for Ontario families.

Sober Steering, based in Waterloo, Ontario, uses sensors that take blood alcohol measurements through the skin, rather than a breath-based system. The system can detect alcohol as soon as two minutes after consumption. If the legal limit has  been exceeded, the system prevents the driver from operating the vehicle.

“Ontario has consistently been at the forefront in the fight against drunk driving, and its investment in our technology as a solution reaffirms that commitment,” said Dennis Bellehumeur, founder and CEO of Sober Steering. “With Ontario’s support, we can more quickly get our systems on the road in Ontario and around the world. This means that we can more quickly start saving lives, saving taxpayer dollars and creating high-tech jobs here in Ontario.”

The company plans to bring the product to market in 2011, and expects to create ten permanent and up to 20 part-time high-skilled jobs over the next five years.

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