CDOT Releases Breathalyzer Research Report

Traffic Safety Pulse News

In late 2019, CDOT released their Breathalyzer Research Final Report. The purpose of this study was to understand how people perceive personal breathalyzers and how they might use these devices to make safer decisions about driving after drinking.

In 2018, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) began a partnership with BACtrack and to distribute free or discounted breathalyzers to promote the use of these devices and reduce the prevalence of DUIs. CDOT gave out free breathalyzers to hear from people interested in using one but not willing to spend $50 during the promotion.

Key findings:

  • Participants were supportive of personal breathalyzers, but there’s still a stigma around these devices. 
    • Personal breathalyzers are a new concept for most people, who don’t realize these devices are available for personal use and have not used one before. 
    • Although participants are generally supportive of breathalyzers and trust the results, there’s a lingering stigma against using the devices in public. Breathalyzers are still associated with DUI offenses.
  • The legal limits for Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) are not well known. 
    • People frequently referenced the DUI limit of .08 as their bar for driving, but only a few mentioned the DWAI limit of .05. 
    • This indicates that even people who are trying to make safe choices are unaware that they are impaired and could get a DWAI if their BAC is between .05 and .08.
  • Having a breathalyzer encouraged behavior change and reaffirmed good decision-making. 
    • Many participants said owning the breathalyzer changed their decision about whether to drive at one point in time. 
      • Some decided not to drive because they had a high BAC reading. 
      • Others decided not to drive even when they did not have their breathalyzer with them because they knew what their limit was from previous experiences using the breathalyzer.

Read the report here.