Personal Breathalyzer Program Working Well In Colorado

personal breathalyzer The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has been running a personal breathalyzer program all year. Now that the year has almost concluded, they’ve got some interesting data to share.

The program was designed by CDOT for first time drunk drivers in Colorado. The participants were given a personal breathalyzer and tracked, with the goal of determining whether or not that breathalyzer would prevent them from receiving a second drunk driving conviction.

Of the 475 participants 75% said they regularly used a handheld breathalyzer. When the data came in, it showed that carrying a personal breathalyzer can really make an impact on a drunk driver.

Some drivers no longer assume they’re safe to drive after drinking  

Before the program, 42% of the participants thought they were fine to drive after a few drinks. Now that they have a personal breathalyzer, they no longer feel that way.

Only one person has received another DUI conviction

The goal of a personal breathalyzer is to prevent you from driving drunk, and since starting the CDOT program only one person out of the group has received a second DUI conviction.

The majority think everyone should own a personal breathalyzer

94% of CDOT participants think everyone who drinks should have a personal breathalyzer with them at all times.

Not everyone knows what the legal BAC is

It’s hard to imagine, but not everyone knows that .08 is the legal BAC in most states. 85% of the participants in CDOT’s program knew that was the legal limit for a DUI conviction in Colorado, but only 59% knew that there was a .05 limit at which you can be charged for DWAI (driving while ability impaired).

There’s one thing good to keep in mind when using a breathalyzer: just because you blow below the legal limit doesn’t mean you should drive. If you receive a reading of .06 on your personal breathalyzer, you’re still better off to stay safe and not drive at all.

Personal breathalyzers are a great tool to have around when you want to know what your blood limit is, and carrying one can help you stay safe during the holidays and beyond.

Making New Breathalyzer Rules Considered An Emergency In Oklahoma

breathalyzer rules oklahoma Police put a lot of effort into making an arrest, and the last thing they want is for a drunk driver they stopped, assessed, and arrested to slip through the net of the law and evade their drunk driving conviction. It happens all the time, and after a court handed down the decision that Oklahoma’s breathalyzer tests were invalid, the police in the county are going to have to get more creative in dealing with drunk drivers.

The case was Eric Sample vs Department of Public Safety. After a district judge ruled that the Board of Tests For Alcohol and Drug Influence didn’t approve some parts of a breathalyzer used to test drunk drivers in the state, the man’s drunk driving conviction was overturned and he got his license back.

But one overturned drunk driving conviction has the potential to start a tidal wave of challenges to other convictions in Oklahoma, so officials created emergency rules so it can’t happen over and over again. These rules will be sent to the Governor’s office for his signature and once he signs off, they will be effective immediately.

These challenges won’t be good news in a state where drunk drivers are already a serious challenge for police officers, and if these drivers have their drunk driving conviction overturned because of a technicality, they won’t receive penalties for their crime.

One of those penalties, ignition interlocks, will stop these drunk drivers in their tracks. Since the Erin Swezey Act was passed in 2011, first time drunk drivers in Oklahoma have the option of installing an ignition interlock instead of receiving a six month driver’s license suspension. Ignition interlocks are mandatory for repeat offender in the state.

If an Oklahoma drunk driving conviction is overturned because of a breathalyzer technicality, that person gets to skip his fines, skip his driver’s license suspension, and skip his ignition interlock. That’s a huge risk for anyone driving on the roads with that driver, and if more and more people come forward to challenge these laws, Oklahoma’s going to be a more dangerous state to drive in.

Two Types Of Ignition Interlock Lockouts That Could Happen To You

ignition interlock lockoutWhen you have an ignition interlock installed on your vehicle you expect that a few things will happen. You expect that you’ll need to drive sober and provide an alcohol-free breath sample in order to continue driving, and you expect that you’ll have to blow into your ignition interlock if you’re required to do a rolling retest.

Unless you’ve been drinking alcohol, what you might not expect is to be locked out or prevented from starting your car because of your interlock. There are two different kinds of lockouts that could affect you.

If you cause a temporary ignition interlock lockout

A temporary lockout can happen if you fail your ignition interlock breath test. If you do fail, you’ll be required to wait for a period of time before you can blow again. That waiting period goes up if you fail your breath test for a second time, and if you continue to blow and fail, you could be locked out for hours.

If you cause a permanent lockout

There’s a reason why you need to attend all of your service appointments. These appointments are designed to inspect and calibrate your interlock as well as download your service records. If you miss a scheduled service appointment the timer will start ticking on your car and you’ll have five days before you’ll enter what’s known as a permanent lockout.

In a nutshell, when a permanent lockout occurs, your car will not start. You’ll have to go to a service center to have it reset before you can get back on the road.

An ignition interlock lockout can mean you miss days of work and other important events in your life. To avoid that, all you have to do is drive sober, stick to your appointments, and finish out your interlock penalty period.

Breathalyzer Vs Blood Draw: The Supreme Court Makes Its Ruling

supreme court ruling breathalyzerPolice take samples of breath to determine how drunk someone is while driving, but have you ever wondered how invasive a breathalyzer test really is? Is it something you’d find embarrassing or painful?

Most people would probably say no, but just like everything in life, there are opponents to the act of submitting a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) via breathalyzer. After several states made it a crime to refuse, a case to determine an individual’s right to that refusal went all the way to the Supreme Court. Three drivers from North Dakota and Minnesota, states where you can receive a criminal charge if you refuse the breathalyzer, launched the case because they felt submitting a blood or breath test violates their Fourth Amendment protection against warrantless searches.

What the Supreme Court ultimately decided was that there was a fine line between submitting a breath sample and submitting a blood sample. A blood sample, involving the piercing of the skin, is much more painful, intrusive, and potentially embarrassing than a breath test. One judge stated that a breathalyzer was “no more demanding than blowing up a party balloon.”

Long court decision short, that means that suspected drunk drivers can still be arrested and criminally charged for refusing to submit a breath sample, but they can’t if they refuse to submit to a blood test.

The three drivers who took their cases all the way to the Supreme Court for consideration received far different outcomes. The penalty stands for the driver from Minnesota who refused the breath test. The driver from North Dakota who refused the blood test had their ruling reversed, and the other North Dakota driver who consented to a blood test under false pretenses will head back to state court.

Breath tests are a simple way for police to assess a drunk driver, and when people know they will be held accountable and there are repercussions to declining the test, they might think before they drink and drive.

Do You Know What A PAS Test Is?

Sobriety test pas testIf you’ve never been arrested for drunk driving and the police stop you because they suspect you of it, you’re going to have to quickly learn a whole new set of terms. Someone who has never driven drunk before may have no idea what makes up a field sobriety test or what the difference is between a PAS test (preliminary alcohol screening) and a breathalyzer test.

Here’s a look at a few of the terms you may hear if you’re pulled over and possibly arrested for drunk driving.

Field Sobriety Test

Have you ever seen photos of police officers asking someone to touch their finger to their nose, walk a straight line, or watched a video of someone trying to recite the alphabet backward? If so, you’ve already seen a field sobriety test in action. Officers use field sobriety tests to gauge a driver’s level of intoxication and determine whether there’s probable cause to arrest you.

PAS Test

A police officer may request a PAS test at a checkpoint or if they pull you over. A PAS test is performed with a breathalyzer device, but it’s performed before you’re arrested for drunk driving. You may hear a PAS test is an optional test and you have the choice to refuse it. In many states that’s true unless you are under the age of 21 and you live in a zero tolerance state, or you’ve already been arrested for drunk driving before. If you’re unsure, your best option before you refuse anything is to contact a lawyer to find out the laws in your state.

If police move beyond these preliminary tests and formally arrest you for drunk driving, refusing to submit to a chemical blood alcohol test can have consequences as severe as if you were convicted of driving under the influence.

These are just a few of the terms you’ll hear when you’re stopped for suspected drunk driving. How do you avoid all of the hassle of field sobriety and PAS tests? It’s pretty easy: just don’t drink and drive.

This Pilot Needed A Reminder Why You Don’t Drink And Fly

american airlines drink and fly Everyone knows how dangerous drunk driving is. If you noticed someone seemed intoxicated and they wanted to get into a car and drive away, you probably wouldn’t get into a car with them. But what if that drunk person was about to drink and fly and they were behind the controls of an airplane while intoxicated? As a passenger who has no interaction with the pilot except a brief pass by at the end of the flight, you’d never know they’d been drinking.

You might have no idea if the pilot of any airplane you’ve been on was drunk, but police and transportation security agents are on the lookout for that type of suspicious behavior. They routinely test pilots and flight attendants with a breathalyzer, and that’s how they found one drunk pilot on an American Airlines flight recently.

It happened on Flight 736, a 7 am flight from Detroit to Philadelphia. Only minutes before a pilot was about to board the plane he was going to fly, a transportation agent noticed him acting intoxicated. The agent brought out the breathalyzer and performed a test. The pilot failed the test and he was handcuffed and arrested right on the tarmac while the passengers of his plane watched. After he was arrested he failed a second BAC test and the flight was cancelled.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), pilots can’t drink in the 8 hours before they fly an aircraft, it’s recommended that they wait 24 hours, and they can’t fly with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .04 or greater.

American Airlines hasn’t released the pilot’s BAC or commented on the case other than indicating they were dealing with the issue, but it’s safe to say the transportation agent made the right call by asking him to take a breathalyzer test. Everyone knows how dangerous drunk driving is, but when you drink and fly, you take hundreds of innocent lives in your hands.

 

Only In The UK Would There Be a Condom Breathalyzer

condom-breathalyzerYou’ve probably been to a bar or two that had an in-bar breathalyzer. The devices hang on walls, require a payment to use, and are meant to provide patrons a simplified way to check if they are over the legal limit of .08. They should never been the deciding factor in whether someone drinks and drives because not all of these breathalyzers are as accurate as police grade breathalyzer or an ignition interlock, but if you want a quick look at your approximate blood alcohol concentration, you should definitely feel free to blow.

Although in-bar breathalyzers in the United States only measure your blood alcohol levels and were designed to stop drinking and driving, the UK has created a different type of in-bar breathalyzer. Called the ‘Johnny Be Good,’ this breathalyzer/vending machine was created to stop you not from drinking and driving, but from drinking and have drunken sex.

If you blow into the device and you’re under the legal driving limit of .08, the machine will dispense a free condom. If you blow over .08, you won’t receive a condom and it will give you a rating of how drunk you are.

The UK only has one Johnny Be Good machine right now, but the people behind it, Match.com, are considering launching it across the country. They feel it might make people more aware of the fact that they are using alcohol as liquid courage when it comes dating, and because alcohol lowers your inhibitions and makes you lack judgement, it might make people think twice about jumping into a fling with someone they’ve just met.

The downside of a machine like Johnny Be Good? If someone is determined to head home with someone they’ve just met, they might just skip the condom altogether. Using a breathalyzer to determine whether or not you can access a condom can also make breathalyzers used to determine blood alcohol concentration seem less serious.

As long as blowing into a Johnny Be Good breathalyzer or an actual breathalyzer doesn’t result in someone making a bad decision, it seems likes it’s all in good fun.

You Won’t Believe Why This Man Refused the Breathalyzer

king-of-scotland

Because King Stephen usurped the throne, there’s no King of Scotland now.

If police suspect you of drunk driving in Colorado and you’re going to refuse the breathalyzer, you might as well bring your A game. At least that’s what a driver must have thought when he was arrested for drinking and driving recently. Instead of complying, he stated he had diplomatic immunity that meant he didn’t have to take a breath test.

Nicolas Baron James, otherwise known as the self-proclaimed Heir to the Throne of Scotland and King Solomon, was arrested in Longmont, Colorado after police officers spotted him swaying across the white lines of the road. They tracked him for a mile and surrounded him, but when he was asked to submit to a breathalyzer test, he declined.

Apparently, James’ believes his blood to be golden, so he couldn’t give a sample. He also decided to refuse the breathalyzer because his diplomatic immunity and royal status meant that he wasn’t required to. When police questioned his claims, he asked them to call the US Department of State to confirm his diplomatic immunity.

Unfortunately for this Heir to the Throne of Scotland, Colorado police were unimpressed. He was charged with drunk driving in Colorado, drug-possession thanks to a bottle of prescription painkillers found in the car, as well as traffic and violation of protective order charges.

Most people who refuse the breathalyzer just say no, so this approach definitely shows creativity. He might have picked the wrong country though, because there is no King of Scotland and the country has been under British rule since 1707. There are a few people who claim a link to the throne in Scotland, but for the most part they are considered ‘pretenders’ as the last actual Scottish monarch was crowned in 1651.

Hopefully the Boulder, Colorado jail is comfortable enough for someone with royal blood, otherwise he’s not going to enjoy his time there as he faces charges for drinking and driving.

Drunk Driving History 101

drunk history drinking and drivingWith all of the publicity drunk driving receives right now on social media, the web, via public service announcements, and from groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), it’s easy to forget that the fight against drunk driving has been going on for over a century.

Here’s a quick look at drunk driving history:

London, 1897

One night in 1897, a man named George Smith was driving his taxicab. That night he’d had one too many at the local pub and he crashed into a building. At the time it may not have seemed like a big deal that he was arrested for drunk driving and fined 25 shillings, but his name lives on in infamy 119 years later as the first person on record to be charged with drunk driving.

New York, 1910

Not long after George’s fateful night in London, New York became the first state to adopt drunk driving laws. There was no way to measure blood alcohol concentration (BAC) at that point, so the law only stated that a driver could not operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated. How drunk you had to be to receive a charge wasn’t defined.

United States, 1930’s

The first task committees were set up to make roads safer in the United States, and they sat down to study what type of problems caused vehicle crashes and how exactly someone could create a measurement for intoxication. Together they decided that a driver with a BAC of .15 percent or higher would be intoxicated and a driver under .15 would not.

Indiana, 1938

Rolla Harger, an Indiana University professor, decided to tackle the problem of measuring a person’s blood alcohol concentration. He invented the first breathalyzer, the Drunk-o-Meter, in 1938. It measured someone’s BAC after they blew into a balloon. The air from the balloon was released into a chemical solution, and if the solution changed color, they had alcohol on their breath.

Indiana, 1954

A colleague of Professor Harger, Robert Borkenstein, took Harger’s design and improved it. He created the design for the breathalyzer, a device that’s been updated over the years but is still in use today.

United States, 1970’s to 1980’s

A 9-year-old boy named Craig D. La Londe invented the first ignition interlock in the early 1970’s. He invented it after a drunk driver killed his father and 3-year-old brother, and he named it a Breath Interlock Device.

MADDBefore the 70’s, the general public really didn’t have a clue that drunk driving was so dangerous. That’s when police officers began to crack down and drunk driving laws changed. The 80’s were also when Candy Lightner founded Mothers Against Drunk Driving after her 13 year old daughter was struck and killed by a repeat drunk driver. The drier had just been released on bail after he was involved in a hit and run 2 days before.

Fast forward to today: DUI laws are more strict, penalties are harsher, and repeat offenders aren’t treated lightly. Technology has evolved, and now breathalyzers and ignition interlocks use fuel cell technology for the most accurate results.

Although lawmakers, public groups, and police are still battling against drunk driving, when you look back at drunk driving history and see how things have changed, it gives you hope that someday people will just stop drinking and driving.

 

Crazy DUI stories: The Boozy Comet That Would Fail A Breathalyzer

comet-lovejoy-would-fail-breathalyzerLook up high in the sky and what do you see? The moon, the stars, maybe a planet or two if you notice something shining brightly, and if you had a space telescope, you’d see a Comet named Lovejoy that apparently has a problem with drinking and driving.

Comet Lovejoy is cruising through the Solar System at around 300 miles per second, and according to scientists who have been watching him, he’s ‘totally wasted.’ Lovejoy’s giving off ethyl alcohol during his travels, the same ethyl alcohol you’ll find in wine and hard liquor, and that gas is the equivalent to 500 bottles of wine shooting out behind him per second.

Lovejoy is unique in that scientists say most comets are frozen solid, but sometimes one like Lovejoy wants to cozy up a little to the sun. That’s when the fun starts, because he starts to defrost, begins to heat up, and releases gases like alcohol, simple sugars, and other organic molecules.

Comet Lovejoy isn’t the only one in the Universe who has a crazy DUI story this week. A man was pulled over in Iowa recently after he was seen driving the wrong way down a street. When stopped he was confused and appeared to be wearing a costume featuring male genitalia, and after he admitted to drinking he failed a field sobriety test and was asked to submit to a breathalyzer.

To make matters worse, he decided that eating toilet paper would help him pass a breathalyzer test. After he ate a few pieces he took the test and not surprisingly, he didn’t pass. He was found to have a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .165 and was charged with driving under the influence (DUI) for the third time.

Fortunately for everyone on the planet, the toilet paper eating man has been arrested and is off the roads and Lovejoy seems to be sticking to space when it comes to drinking and driving. If you spot a drunk driver, whether it’s in space or driving the wrong way down the side of the road, make sure you call 911.

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