In Sweden, just one beer or glass of wine can land a driver in jail for up to six months.

So when Volvo asked the Swedish government to waive the country's strict drunken driving laws to allow its test drivers to imbibe on the job, people noticed.

Volvo is in the midst of testing a new technology designed to allow a car to take control of steering when a driver's reaction time is slowed because of intoxication or fatigue. The new safety system is still at the development stage and the company will not provide additional details other than to say its all about preventing accidents.

If the request is granted, it would be the first exception to Sweden's drunk driving laws, which are among the world's toughest, the Swedish national broadcaster SVT reported.

The company promises to only allow its drunk drivers to take the wheel on a Volvo test track near the west coast city of Gothenburg if the Swedish government grants permission.

The special track is also the location of a Ford Motor Co. safety development facility. Ford owns Volvo.

Sweden has one of the best road-safety records in the world in part because of its drunk driving laws. The laws apply to private and public roads.

According to Stockholm Traffic Police, the most drivers could drink without risking a heavy fine is one beer. Drivers caught well over the limit can be sent to prison.