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Do BACtracks Help Reduce the Risk of Drunk Driving and DUIs? Research Says 'Yes.'

Do BACtracks Help Reduce the Risk of Drunk Driving and DUIs? Research Says 'Yes.'

Anecdotally, we know using a BACtrack reduces the risk of drunk driving and DUIs. We hear from BACtrack customers every day: the results on their BACtrack made them or a friend or family member choose not to drive after drinking.

It's one thing to feel fine to drive after drinking, it's another to see your estimated BAC level on a BACtrack and know it's unsafe to get behind the wheel. A BACtrack takes the risky guesswork out of the equation. (In fact, the only time a person should be driving after consuming alcohol when their BAC level has returned to 0.00%).

As part of our ongoing partnership with the Colorado Department of Transportation, read more on that here, we're examining the effectiveness of breathalyzers in terms of influencing drinking habits and behavior. 

2016 Breathalyzer Study

Our first study was in 2016 and examined the effect breathalyzers may have on drinking habits and decision making. In the study, CDOT provided BACtrack Mobiles to 225 participants during the summer months.

A summary of findings is below - and be sure to check out the video overview:

  • 84% of participants agreed that owning a smartphone breathalyzer lowered their risk for a DUI/DWAI.
  • 82% of participants agreed anyone who regularly drinks should own a breathalyzer.
  • Before receiving the breathalyzers, 79% believed they might have previously driven while above the DUI limit, compared to the program's final survey, in which participants were asked about their behavior since receiving and using breathalyzers; only 12%of participants reported that they may have driven impaired.

Participants shared these testimonials about their experience:

  • "The breathalyzer provides me an extra line of defense in the battle of convincing my friends not to drive after drinking, giving me hard, undeniable evidence of their impairment level."

  • "I have noticed that I am over the legal limit much more than I thought. Even the next day after drinking, I like to test it and have found my BAC to be over 0.04. Scary! The program has been very eye-opening.:"

  • "A friend was leaving my house after a late night out and we used the device to determine whether he should drive or call for a ride. He thought he was all right to drive, but blew a 0.077, so he took an Uber instead."


2017 Breathalyzer Study

In 2017, we examined the effectiveness of breathalyzers in terms of influencing the behavior of first-time DUI offenders. CDOT provided BACtrack Mobiles to 475 first-time DUI offenders to use during the summer months. Participants used the BACtracks and then completed surveys about their drinking habits, driving, and breathalyzer usage.

"For two years, we've sought to learn more about breathalyzers and their potential to reduce impaired driving. This year, we wanted to learn if breathalyzers could help an at-risk group: those who have been convicted for impaired driving once before," said Sam Cole, CDOT communications manager. "The program surveys indicate having a tool on hand that provides information about intoxication levels helped participants from getting behind the wheel impaired."

A summary of the findings is below:

  • 94% of participants agreed that everyone who regularly drinks should own a personal breathalyzer.
  • 91% of participants "agreed" or "strongly agreed" when asked if owning a smartphone breathalyzer has helped avoid impaired driving. 
  • Prior to the program, 42% of participants were confident in their ability to drive after a few drinks. Since owning a breathalyzer, 30% percent felt the same way.

Participants shared these testimonials about their experience:

"Having the breathalyzer has given me a better understanding of how different levels of intoxication actually feel and has better prepared me to make a smart decision if I've been drinking."

"Great tool! Gives me a sense of security knowing where my blood alcohol level is, and if I'm impaired. Otherwise, I'm just making an educated guess, which is dumb when you drink!"

"I think it is a must for drinkers. Especially those who have only had a few drinks and always think they are fine to drive. Thank you for this experience. It has made me a smarter drinker."

A 2018 study is underway and we'll share results soon.