Officials Look Toward Technology To Curb Drunk Driving In Colorado
The Colorado Department of Transportation wants to know if having access to a mobile breathalyzer decreases a person's risk of getting another DUI.
“We know that about 40 percent of the DUI’s in Colorado involve people that had a previous DUI,” says Sam Cole, communications manager at CDOT. “The thought is that we can get these devices in their hands, they are much more knowledgeable about what their level of impairment is, and [it] may actually prevent them from driving drunk.”
DUI-related crashes accounted for one-third of all fatalities in Adams, Jefferson and Weld counties in 2016.
Participants in the study will receive a BACtrack Mobile Pro, a breathalyzer that connects to a phone app. The app will display the blood-alcohol level when blown into along with an estimate of when the person's level will return to zero. It also allows the user to request an Uber.
“We believe the participants in this program will greatly benefit from using our BACtrack Mobile to gain both specific and objective information about their level of impairment,” says Stacey Sachs, vice president of marketing at BACtrack.
Previous studies conducted by CDOT back up Sachs’s thoughts. During the 2015 study, a vast majority of participants said owning a smartphone breathalyzer reduced their risk of getting a DUI.
For the study, participants are asked to use the breathalyzer and complete surveys throughout summer. People who complete the surveys can keep the device.
People with prior DUIs in Jefferson, Adams, or Weld counties are eligible to apply for the study via the agency's website.