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Dysart Willis

Should more people use personal breathalyzers?

It is no secret that drunk driving continues to be a problem in North Carolina. The public safety threat is obvious, as nearly 12,000 people each year are killed in accidents involving at least one driver who was impaired. Also, DUI has become one of the most common types of motor vehicle arrests in the United States.

Nevertheless, despite the public service announcements and the warnings from law enforcement about the dangers of drinking and driving, the problem still persists. What’s even more troubling, the prevalence of smartphone apps that could measure a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) as well as handheld breathalyzers would suggest that drunk driving would be trending down. But this unfortunately is not the case. 

There are several potential reasons why this technology is not more popular, especially among younger drivers. This post will highlight a few.

Perception could be reality – Consumer research suggests that if bar patrons used a personal breathalyzer in public, they could be perceived as having a drinking problem or substantial legal issues that require them to use the device.

Drivers feel like they don’t need them – Of course, many drivers know when they are drunk, but the problem is that they may not know when their BAC is above the legal limit of .08. As such, they feel like they are okay to drive, only to find out (when it is too late) that they are not.

It is an unnecessary expense – Indeed, many personal breathalyzers are a fraction of the cost of industrial machines used by law enforcement. But again, many people see a handheld tester as an unnecessary expense.