Many researchers say personal breathalyzers could help curb the drinking and driving problem in the U.S. Today, these self-monitoring devices are in more than 15,000 retail stores. They’re small enough to fit on a keychain and in a pocket, and many of them have corresponding smartphone apps.
With the drinking and driving epidemic in America, putting the tools in drivers’ hands seems to make sense – but the idea is not really taking off. Resistance seems to stem from drinkers believing they can moderate their own intake of alcohol or feel self-conscious about whipping out a personal breathalyzer among friends. Additionally, with a somewhat pricey cost of around $100, they are not flying off the shelves.
The maker of one such breathalyzer,Keith Nothacker of BACtrack, sees it differently. “I thought it was crazy that you could get pulled over, get arrested and go to jail for a number you couldn’t test yourself,” he says, explaining why he started the company 14 years ago. “It’s like not having a speedometer in your car and then getting arrested for speeding.” After all, the responsibility ultimately rests with the driver and the means to see where you stand before you get behind the wheel should be an option.
Whether drivers embrace the personal breathalyzer or not, clearly something has to be done about drunk driving. DUIs are one of the most common types of motor-vehicle arrests in the U.S. and have become more frequent. The law imposes steep fines on DUI across the country. A driver who is pulled over for a DUI offense with a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit can end up paying a hefty price. Bail, legal fees, increased auto-insurance premiums, loss of work income, court-ordered alcohol education programs, and more can add up into the thousands. If someone gets injured or killed as a result of drunk driving, the consequences are dire.
Despite the lukewarm reception of the personal breathalyzer by individuals, some drinking establishments are taking an interest. One pub chain in Las Vegas has used a breathalyzer called AlcoScan at one of their locations, stationed next to their restrooms, which costs $1 per test. Another technology geared toward businesses at trade shows, called BreathAdvisor, has a feature that automatically asks the customer if they want to request a cab if they have a reading above the legal limit.
If you or a family member has been arrested for drunk driving, contact the Law Offices of Ronald L. Bell PC for help. Ron has been recognized as A Top Ten DUI Attorney in client satisfaction for 2014 and 2015. Contact us today!
Source: The Atlantic Monthly. com, “Why Not Just Breathalyze Yourself?”, by Paul Vasan, accessed March 6, 2015.