Because many people don’t seem to know how dangerous it is to drive after only a few drinks, the Colorado Department of Transportation is teaming up with BACtrack — a company that makes breathalyzers for personal and law enforcement use — to get feedback from Coloradans on how the devices can change people’s drinking and driving habits.

CDOT Communications Manager Sam Cole said:

This is a unique opportunity for both participants and CDOT […] to see how a breathalyzer can improve decision-making. […] We hope that smartphone breathalyzers can help drinkers know their own limits and make the safe decision about driving.

There is a misconception about how quickly alcohol can affect driving. After only a couple of drinks, a driver can reach the Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) level of .05 BAC, or the DUI level of .08 BAC.

Recruiting Breathalyzer Testers

The department is recruiting project participants. You can sign up through Friday, July 22 and BACtrack and CDOT will randomly select 200 participants, who will be given a BACtrack Mobile breathalyzer to use throughout the summer. The testers will be asked to complete three short surveys about their driving and drinking habits, and breathalyzer use.

According to CDOT’s Breathalyzer Study Application page, the online surveys take 10 to 15 minutes to complete, and all information will be kept anonymous. If you are a participant and complete all three required surveys, you will get to keep the breath tester, which is worth $100.

DUI Deaths in Colorado

Every year in Colorado, more than 26,000 people are arrested for DUI, and more than 150 people are killed in alcohol-related crashes — more than a third of all traffic deaths in the state.

Last year, August and September were the two months with the highest number of traffic deaths in Colorado due to suspected impairment, with 23 and 24 deaths, respectively. In 2015, there were 182 traffic deaths related to impaired driving, preliminary data show.

CDOT will be compiling the data it gathers from participants in this survey in September, and will share it with the public. Fox31 Denver writes that participants must be older than 21 and live in Colorado. The department has already received hundreds of applications.

On BACtrack’s website, Rachel E., a user of the device, describes how it’s used:

We use our […] breathalyzer a number of different ways.We frequently entertain. No one leaves our house with car keys until they blow. [The] numbers don’t lie. We have taken many a set of keys away and set up the guest room.

Image by idless/123RF.

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