Zweig Law, PC Attorneys at Law

A CO breathalyzer partnership aims to reduce drunk driving

If you are a resident of Colorado, you may have seen the ads or billboards about "The Heat is On" campaign.

The state is serious about bringing drunk driving fatalities down to zero, and the Colorado Department of Transportation has partnered with a personal breathalyzer company to help make that happen.

A little DUI background

According to the Colorado Department of Transportation, or CDOT, almost a third of all fatal vehicle crashes in the state involve alcohol. In 2016, law enforcement officials charged more than 21,000 motorists with suspicion of driving under the influence. Of those, almost 40 percent were repeat offenders.

The 2018 update

In only one month, June of 2018, impaired driving accounted for 22 motor vehicle fatalities in our state. The number of annual arrests for DUI continues to hover around 20,000. Breathalyzers play a large role in determining the blood alcohol content level of drivers law enforcement officers stop on suspicion of DUI or DWAI—hence, the idea of encouraging the use of personal breathalyzers.

The partnership begins

In 2015, a BACtrack pilot study in Colorado showed that 84% of the participants confirmed that having personal breathalyzers reduced the likelihood that they would drink and drive. In 2016, CDOT commenced its partnership with the personal breathalyzer company and launched the “Before You Go, Know” initiative. This was a six-week campaign during which drivers convicted of DUI received personal devices. These repeat offenders no longer had suspended licenses nor ignition interlock devices in their vehicles. Motorists then reported the effectiveness of the personal devices in preventing possible drunk driving incidents.

An original program

The partnership between CDOT and the BACtrack company is the first of its kind in the U.S. In the summer of 2018, street teams took the personal breathalyzers to events and bars across the state allow people to test the devices. Many expressed surprise that their blood alcohol concentration level exceeded the legal limit after only having a drink or two. This lack of knowledge is often how drivers find themselves under arrest for DUI or DWAI and subsequently require the assistance of an experienced defense attorney. The hope is that personal breathalyzers will dramatically lower the need to make such arrests.

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