There is a fall in driving fatalities through the last decade but almost 12,000 Americans die yearly in crashes including an alcoholic driver, as per estimates of NHTSA. United States is far from solving its drunken driving problem and holidays may surface more drunk drivers which can make the roads a dangerous place to drive. According to Sai Gohel, classical procedures aimed at DUI prevention aren’t working well enough. The San Francisco defense lawyer throughout his 21 year old career had to deal with many DUI cases. Common scare strategies used by many organizations for fighting this nuisance are not connecting well enough with drivers, says Gohel.
Keith Nothacker is the founder president of BACtrack, a personal breathalyzer firm. He aims to stop this epidemic of drinking and driving in America. Fourteen years ago, he started this company to help people in testing their own blood alcohol concentration. Presently, these unique devices are available in over 15,000 outlets and fit into pockets or keychain. Several of these devices have relevant smart phone applications.
According to Lauren Casparis, a company spokesperson, smart phone apps are used to deal with several aspects of our life. The same can be applied to safety and health in the technology obsessed world. Personal breathalyzers cost depending upon the technology used with semiconductors costing around 30$-50$. Fuelcell technology for quick and accurate results may cost $100 or more. Police stations use breathalyzers costing almost $5,000 to $10,000. According to Goher, steep discounts have only ensured their use in below 1% of drivers as per generous estimates of law enforcement officers.
A West Hartford police officer believes that people avoid keeping such a device in their pockets or inside their car. Jeffrey Rose’s police department in Connecticut makes numerous DUI arrest every year. A driver arrested in such case can be fined up to a maximum of $20,000 in long run when the blood alcohol concentration exceeds legal limit. It includes bail, losing work income, alcohol awareness programs, increased premiums, etc. As per a research outcome, 7100 deaths could have been stopped in 2012 if few alcoholic drivers were not in the roads.
There are reasons for the lack of increased adoption of these devices among drivers. A category of people reject them coz they believe it signifies their drinking issues or DUI, expressed Brian Sturdivant. He is associated with a breathalyzer manufacturing company called Breathometer. As per driver conversations and consumer research, many people prefer to be unaware of their own blood alcohol concentration while drinking with friends in a bar. They believe it is manageable. Price of breathalyzer could be another reason and drivers may perceive it unnecessary expense, believes Sturdivant.
According to Sturdivant, the breathalyzer is used to make people aware of their intoxication levels to take smarter decisions. Individuals get to understand their exact numbers and should react differently. Using this device is more about taking a proactive approach instead of police officer telling the exact legal limit. Oppositions to such a technology focus on a claim that an observation below .08% gives a false indication to motorists about their capacity to drive.
Image credit: Backtrack.com