Unlicensed driving has become a
major concern nowadays. It is possible that drivers  not having appropriate training and testing
may be deficient in some aspect of the knowledge and skills required to drive safely
and efficiently. Also, drivers who are unauthorized may have less incentive to
comply with road traffic laws in that they would not be influenced by the
rewards and penalties set up under the licensing system. On this argument,
drivers who do not hold a valid license may disregard the threat of license
sanctions or the benefits of reduced insurance premium due to not having made a
claim. It is noticeable in the literature 1 that the term “unlicensed” is
used interchangeably to mean one of the below subcategories, as follows:

A) Drivers who drive but who have never possessed any form
of license;

B) Drivers who have previously held a license but who have
been disqualified; and

C) Drivers possessing only a provisional license but whom,
nevertheless, drive unaccompanied.

For many unlicensed drivers, enforcement and penalties are
not strong deterrents and in addition there are also administrative loopholes which
some exploit. There appears to be a general laxity in the system of checking
the validity of documents and their ownership – for example it is claimed to be
straightforward for an unlicensed driver to pass himself off as a friend (with
a license) and later present the friend’s documents at a police station.

According to a survey by the AA Foundation for approximately
half of all drunken driving takes place with drivers who do not have a valid
driving license (Goldberg, 1997)1. Also in Sweden, unlicensed driving has
been estimated as the cause of 100 deaths and 2500 injuries per year at a cost
of more than one billion US dollars. In the USA, in 1995, more than 10,000
lives were lost in fatal accidents with unlicensed drunk drivers (approximately
a quarter of all road deaths in that year). The equivalent figure in Great
Britain would therefore be over 900 deaths if this rate prevailed.

An in-built system 2 in an automobile which prevents
such cases has therefore become vital. This paper aims to introduce a hardware
architecture which detects the fingerprint as well as the validity of the
license of the driver and takes a robust decision to turn on or off the
ignition system based on the validity. Section II describes the smart card and
Section III describes the fingerprint matching algorithm. Section IV elucidates
the architecture followed by results in Section V and conclusion in Section VI.

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