Why owning a personal breathalyzer may be a good idea: Part II

In our post last week, we began a discussion about the potential benefits of owning a personal breathalyzer device. While a reading from your own device could not be used in court to defend against drunk driving charges, using the device before getting behind the wheel could prevent a DUI traffic stop in the first place.

Breath-testing devices (commonly called breathalyzers), were once very expensive and not easy for the average consumer to come by. But in recent years, personal breathalyzers have become smaller, cheaper, more accurate and more widely available in stores. Despite these advantages, less than 1 percent of all drivers currently own and carry these devices.

Last week, we discussed how personal breathalyzers could help individuals make better decisions about whether or not to get behind the wheel after an evening of drinks. But if these devices came into more widespread use, the data gathered and shared could be used to better understand drunk driving trends and patterns of driver behavior.

As just one example, a personal breathalyzer company called BACtrack studied the results of nearly 300,000 breath-alcohol tests over a period of 13 months. Analysis showed that average blood-alcohol concentrations tend to be highest between December and March. Among the 15 biggest drinking days of the year, 14 occur during this four-month time period.

None of this data collected and analyzed in aggregate is likely to affect an individual’s DUI case, but it could lead to significant changes in the way that drunk driving trends are recognized and responded to. Taxi companies, for instance, might choose to offer longer hours of service during times of year associated with high rates of drunk driving.

No matter what you would do with the information you gathered, you may want to consider owning a personal breathalyzer device. As we wrote last week, spending a little money now could potentially save you thousands of dollars later on.

Source: The Atlantic, “Why Not Just Breathalyze Yourself?” Paula Vasan, Dec. 31, 2014

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