Some using personal breathalyzers this New Year's

By Layron Livingston - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - This New Year's Eve, Tyler police and other Smith County agencies are not taking "no" for an answer.  Thursday afternoon, authorities kicked off another "No Refusal DWI Campaign."

If suspected drunk drivers deny a breathalyzer test, authorities will be able to issue an immediate search warrant.  The driver's blood would be drawn at the Smith County Jail to determine whether the driver is over the .08 legal limit.

New technology is helping some East Texans avoid the drunk tank.

Protocol's Alcohol Breath Checker is a breathalyzer on a key chain.  We picked it up for $15.  All you do is blow into one end of the device for a quick measurement of your blood alcohol level content.  Red, yellow, and green LED indicator lights let users know if and when they've had too much to drink.

"It's a great idea!" said Hal Hudgins.

"It could help be more responsible," said Jerod Scroggins.

Mike Williams agreed, but said, unfortunately, people don't always think responsibly.

"Your average person that goes out to drink [thinks], 'I'm fine to drive'. That's their mindset."

"Safe people are going to try this," said Sgt. Jerald Riggle with the Tyler Police Department.  "It's the [people] that really don't who will drink their beer and hit the highway, regardless."

Riggle said personal breathalyzers can be a useful tools, especially if they keep drunk drivers off the streets.  But, Riggle said several factors can make self-tests unreliable.

"If you have a couple of drinks, and you weigh a 120 pounds, you're probably right at the limit."  Riggle said initial test results can also increase.  "If you're at .07 when you leave the club, you can end up at .08 out there on the road," he said, because the alcohol the takes time to course through your body.

R-U-Buzzed is a free iPhone application that lets users dial in their gender, weight, the number of drinks they've had, and how long they've been drinking.  The app calculates their alcohol content.

Some personal breathalyzers can cost around $3 and range in price--up to about $300.  Of course, authorities said the simple way is always the best road to take:  if you drink, don't drive.

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