What might appear to be just a fun toy at a bar could end up being a powerful way to check your level of intoxication the next time you’ve gone out drinking and are trying to decide if you’re fit to drive a motor vehicle. According to a recent news report, a Minnesota company has created a new device called an IntoxBox which is similar to what police may utilize to test a suspected intoxicated driver.
Several bars around Minneapolis and St. Paul have begun installing the devices as officials from the company insist the measurements are incredibly accurate. It requires that customers pay a small fee to use the IntoxBox. After paying and following a few prompts, patrons blow into the machine with a straw and receive their blood alcohol concentration in less than two minutes.
So far 19 establishments across the Twin Cities have installed the devices. The best news is that one bar owner says that since installing the IntoxBox, he’s seen a noticeable increase in the number of customers calling cabs or friends to get home. The proof, according to the bartender, is the increased number of cars sitting in the parking lot on Sunday morning left over from the previous night.
The creator of the device apparently got the idea several years ago after one of his good friends was arrested for a DUI. The news came as a shock, as the friend had no clue he was over the legal limit. He then realized many people might be in similar situations and sought to remedy the problem. He has likened the device to a speedometer, believing that people need to know if they’re skating too close to the legal line.
According to the report, the reliability of the device was given a major boost by the group Minnesotans for Safe Driving. The organization previously has criticized bar breathalyzers as being unreliable. The safety group credits its creator for making his device worthy of their endorsement. The group was especially impressed that onscreen prompts warn users about the dangers of drunk driving and include the caveat that their blood alcohol levels may continue rising even after they’re done drinking.
My personal thoughts on this device are, if it can prevent people from driving while under the influence of alcohol, then I’m all for it. However, my advice, and I strongly believe the best policy, if you are going to drink alcohol, then don’t drive and have a designated driver! I have a few concerns for any type of device someone may rely on to determine if they should drive a motor vehicle. For one, an individual’s blood alcohol tends to continue to rise after consumption, before it dissipates. Therefore, after an individual takes a breath test and discontinues drinking, their blood alcohol could continue to rise before it begins going down.
Also, I have represented individuals that have been charged with driving under the influence of alcohol even though their blood alcohol concentration was measured by the state to be under the legal limit of .08. It is important to understand that a prosecutor can still charge and attempt to prove, at trial, that a driver was under the influence of alcohol, despite testing below the legal limit.
In summary, as stated, a bar breathalyzer is a great tool to help prevent drunk driving, and may indeed save lives. However, it should not be solely relied upon in deciding to get behind the wheel after consuming alcohol.