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Can personal breathalyzer devices reduce drunk driving?

A new initiative in Colorado has launched in response to a pair of startling statistics. One cites a third of all fatal accidents in the state involve a driver under the influence. The other reveals more than 21,000 drivers cited for drunk driving with 40 percent of them already having at least one DUI on their record.

The Centennial State has become a testing ground for personal breath test devices. It is an experiment that, if successful, could see a nationwide rollout. The “Before You Go, Know” teams the state’s department of transportation with BACtrack, a personal breathalyzer company, to provide these safety devices to 475 drivers who have one DUI conviction.

In exchange for using the device, previous offenders must provide information on the effectiveness of the devices in preventing them from driving drunk. Those overseeing the initiative want to see if participants can actually judge whether they can operate a vehicle safely based on their blood-alcohol content.

The Mobile Pro breathalyzer touts the same accuracy as those used by law enforcement. It connects to a smartphone via Bluetooth to display the user’s blood-alcohol level. It also estimates the time necessary for the BAC to return to zero. For those severely under the influence, an option exists to call an Uber.

Users even have the option to guess their BAC before taking the test. By comparing their perception to the Mobile Pro’s reality, they can potentially gain an understanding of how their bodies absorb alcohol.

BACtrack founder and CEO Keith Nothacker cited a previous pilot study where 84 percent of people who claimed that the personal breathalyzers reduced the likelihood of driving drunk.

Are pocket-sized breathalyzers coming to a county near you?

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