Some people get cabs, Uber, or Lyft. Others rely on designated driver. Unfortunately, however, many people who drink when they go out plan on driving home. While some of those drivers try and keeps the alcohol intake to a minimum, others do not. Either way, unless a person has a personal breathalyzer, people don’t know what their blood alcohol content is when they walk out the door.
Some bars on the East Coast are trying to stop that by installing wall-mounted breathalyzers.
Two bars in New Castle County, Delaware, have installed the Boozelator 5000 to help their patrons avoid driving drunk before getting behind the wheel. For one dollar, the wall-mounted breathalyzer will dispense a straw that is inserted in the machine. The patron then provides a breath sample which will be analyzed and displayed on the machine’s screen.
"I agree that if you’ve been drinking, you shouldn’t drive," Stephanie Westcott, general manager of Tailgates Sports Bar and Grill off Ogletown-Stanton Road, told Delawareonline. "But realistically, that’s not what happens. So anything we can do to make people aware of their blood alcohol content before they get into a car, I think that’s great."
Critics of the breathalyzers like law enforcement and Mothers Against Drunk Driving claim that the machine is more of a gimmick than a deterrent to drunk driving. They claim that because the machines do not meet the same standards used by breathalyzers used by law enforcement, they could provide incorrect reading which could lead to a false sense of sobriety.
According to Gabe Jacobs, spokesman for Blo Dad & Sons, which manufactures the Boozelator 5000, the Boozelator 5000 is different than other novelty breathalyzers because it uses a platinum fuel-cell conductor. This is what is used in the breathalyzers used by law enforcement making its accuracy comparable.
"That means it gives a much more accurate result and isn’t affected by things like alcohol fumes in the air, perfume, hair spray and other things you typically find in the air space at a bar," he said, adding that the machines are accurate to within .005 percent.
MADD and law enforcement shouldn’t be criticizing. Isn’t it their objective to get drunk drivers off the road? Even if the Boozelator is not as accurate as breathalyzers used by law enforcement, some indication is better than no indication. And if it can keep some people from driving drunk, then it’s done its job.
Jacobs said that, since 2010, 3,500 Boozelators have been installed in bars throughout the United States.
Remember that, even if a wall-mounted breathalyzer tells you you’re under the legal limit, you can still be charged and convicted of a California DUI if you are “under the influence” regardless of your blood alcohol content.