Denver, CO – In order to fight against drunk driving, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) has started giving breathalyzers to DUI offenders.
The Denver Post reports that almost one third of all fatal DUI accidents in Colorado involve a drunk driver. This past year alone, over 21,000 alcohol-impaired drivers were cited by Colorado law enforcement officers. The shocking part? About 40 percent of those drivers already had at least one DUI charge under their belt.
Thus, a new plan was born. In response to the rising rates of DUI citations in Colorado, CDOT joined forces with BACtrack, a personal breathalyzer company. Together, they have launched a six-week campaign called “Before You Go, Know,” in which Colorado drivers who have been charged with a DUI will be given a pocket-sized breathalyzer.
The Safety Communications Manager at CDOT, Sam Cole, says it makes since that we have speedometers to keep us from speeding, so “Why wouldn’t you have something on your person to prevent you from drinking and driving?”
So far, BACtrack has already given 475 DUI offenders in Colorado personal breathalyzers this August. In exchange, the drivers will give the company information regarding whether or not the small breathalyzer will stop future DUI incidents. The goal of the six-week campaign is to teach people how to better judge their blood-alcohol content (BAC) before getting behind the wheel and potentially causing a drunk driving accident. The company is also hoping to gain more insight into why drunk drivers make the decisions they do, and what their general thought process is.
Over 150 residents of both Adams and Jefferson counties are taking part in the “Before You Go, Know” campaign. In the two counties alone, 37 people died from drunk driving accidents in 2016. In Jefferson County specifically, 17 people died as a result of DUI accidents, earning the county the title of most traffic deaths related to alcohol abuse.
Initially, the campaign aimed to include 200 DUI offenders, but it has since grown to include almost 500 offenders across Colorado.
The breathalyzer that DUI offenders in Colorado will be receiving is called the BACtrack Mobile Pro; it has the same accuracy as devices used by Colorado authorities, but it is a lot smaller and is able to connect to a smart phone via Bluetooth. If the breathalyzer reads a high BAC level, it will show an option to call Uber. Users are able to guess their BAC level before taking the test as a way to help show them what they think their BAC is vs. what their BAC actually is.
The program launched just in time for the annual statewide Labor Day DUI crackdown. Over the three-day Labor Day weekend last year, seven people died in DUI accidents in Denver alone.
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