Each year, Colorado arrests more than 20,000 people suspected of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Wider use of pocket breathalyzers could reduce fatal auto accidents by warning drunk or buzzed drivers to stay out of the driver’s seat.

State, Maker Urge Drivers to Be Sure They’re Sober

It’s becoming easier, more certain, and cheaper than ever to know whether you’ve had too much to drink. The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and a manufacturer of portable breathalyzers are making them available to Colorado drivers for half of the usual price, the agency says.

The discounts will last until mid-September 2018, or until supplies run out, according to the online news source Golden Patch. In combination with CDOT, manufacturer BACtrack is selling the pocket-sized devices to Colorado residents for $49.99 plus $7 shipping and handling. The devices normally retail for $99.00 or more. Visit codot.bactrack.com to choose either the BACtrack Mobile Pro or Trace Pro model.

The breathalyzers may persuade you to let someone else do the driving, even when your judgment has been anesthetized by alcohol.

You simply plug one of the devices into your smartphone then blow into it. The display will show you your blood-alcohol content level in plain numbers. Knowing will make it easier to manage the situation yourself. You can either wait until your alcohol level has subsided or find another way home.

Knowing Your Condition Can Save Money, Prevent Car Accidents

Even if you miss the sale, it might be worth full price to have a portable gizmo that can keep you out of serious trouble. You’re not just saving $50, you could be saving several thousands of dollars in legal expenses, fines, and insurance costs if you’re busted for driving under the influence of alcohol in Colorado. And you might save your life, and the lives of your passengers and others sharing the road.

Each year, the state arrests more than 20,000 people suspected of driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, CDOT says.

Of the 648 deaths from auto accidents on Colorado streets, roads, and highways last year, 233 resulted from crashes in which investigators suspected alcohol or drugs were a factor, according to CDOT statistics. In June 2018 alone, at least 22 people died in accidents involving impaired drivers.

CDOT launched the discount program as part of its continuing “The Heat Is On” campaign intended to curb drunken and impaired driving through publicity, community education, and seasonal DUI sobriety checkpoints. It’s promoting the breathalyzers across the state in public meetings, and with billboards, barroom signs, and social media ads. The message might even reach you through ads on your smartphone’s Pandora music channel.

CDOT, BACtrack Growing Partnership

The program is building on the agency’s successful collaboration with BACtrack in 2016 when CDOT recruited 225 Colorado drivers to use the devices and answer survey questions about their drinking habits. About 84 percent of the participants said that owning a breathalyzer plug-in for their smartphones lowered their risk of getting cited for driving under the influence or “driving while ability impaired,” a lesser charge. About 94 percent of those drivers agreed that everyone who drinks regularly should own a personal breathalyzer.

The agency said its relationship with BACtrack is the partnership between a breathalyzer manufacturer and a state transportation department.

Sam Cole, CDOT’s communication manager said that the devices give users “real-time data” that helps them understand their situations and lets them make informed decisions about driving.

Cole said:

“There is often a significant difference between how you feel and how impaired you actually are. Breathalyzers help eliminate that uncertainty, ultimately saving lives by removing impaired drivers from the road. … Using breathalyzers is something we should be thinking about no matter when and where we are drinking.”

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