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What personal breath tests and speedometers have in common

Most people would never drive a motor vehicle if it did not come equipped with a functional speedometer. That's because, here in the United States, our roads are typically governed by strict speed limits that can lead to tickets if we violate the law. Speedometers help us to make sure we don't do that, making them a useful tool in fighting crime, as some might say.

So why is this not the case for drinking and driving? Shouldn't drivers have a tool at their disposal to determine whether they are breaking the law or not? Don't they also have the right to correct their behavior before it results in civil and/or criminal charges?

This was certainly the argument made by the founder and president of BACtrack, a company that specializes in personal breath tests. As he explained to the Atlantic, "I thought it was crazy that you could get pulled over, get arrested and go to jail for a number [your BAC] you couldn’t test yourself." It was this premise that inspired him to start the company 14 years ago. BACtrack now makes breath test devices for the everyday consumer, which essentially allow people to prevent a DUI from occurring in the first place.

Because these devices may not give a completely accurate reading of a person's blood-alcohol content, drivers should exercise caution before operating a vehicle after self administering a breath test. It's worth pointing out too that even if you are under the legal limit, police may still consider you impaired, which may still lead to legal consequences if you're not careful.

Source: The Atlantic, "Why Not Just Breathalyze Yourself?" Paula Vasan, Dec. 31, 2014

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