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CDOT Breathalyzer Program to Focus on DUI Offenders

July 18, 2017 – Statewide – First-Time DUI Offenders Being Recruited
to Use Smartphone Breathalyzers

STATEWIDE — Approximately one-third of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) convictions nationwide involve someone with a prior DUI arrest, and the rate of DUI recidivism is higher in Colorado. In 2016, of the more than 21,000 DUI filings made in Colorado, 40 percent involved individuals with a prior DUI offense. With that in mind, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) is launching a program this summer to determine if smartphone breathalyzers help those with a previous DUI conviction avoid a second offense. In the program, CDOT is partnering with BACtrack, a leading personal and professional breathalyzer company, with the goal of reducing impaired driving crashes in Colorado. CDOT is accepting online submissions for the program through the end of July. To learn more about the program and to apply, visit HeatIsOnColorado.com.

“Impaired driving is a major traffic safety issue in Colorado and a number of those charged with DUIs are repeat offenders,” said Sam Cole, CDOT Communications Manager. “We want to know if having a tool on hand that provides information about your level of  impairment prevents you from getting behind the wheel.”

CDOT is reaching out in Adams, Jefferson and Weld counties to connect with first-time DUI offenders to participate in the breathalyzer program. In 2016, Adams (21), Jefferson (16) and Weld (18) counties had a combined 55 fatalities involving impaired drivers, representing 33.7 percent of all traffic fatalities in these counties.

Information gauging the effectiveness of breathalyzers will be gathered in two ways. First, surveys will evaluate how participants feel smartphone breathalyzers influence their behavior. Second, data from the smartphone breathalyzer itself is logged every time a participant uses their smartphone breathalyzer, tracking Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC), time and location. This provides valuable information – in aggregate – on how the devices are being used.

“BACtrack is honored to work with CDOT to help people make informed decisions by providing the industry’s most accurate, innovative and affordable breath alcohol testing devices,” said Stacey Sachs, Vice President of Marketing at BACtrack. “We believe the participants in this program will greatly benefit from using our BACtrack Mobile to gain both specific and objective information about their level of impairment.”

CDOT first launched its breathalyzer outreach in 2015 and the program has continued to grow and evolve since. In summer 2016, CDOT recruited 225 participants to see how owning a smartphone breathalyzer might change behavior. After a summer of use, 84 percent of program participants agreed that owning a smartphone breathalyzer reduced their risk of getting a DUI. This summer, CDOT has adapted the program to focus on a group that is at a high risk for driving impaired – those who have already received a DUI.

Recruitment for participants is underway, and those who have been convicted of a DUI can apply at HeatIsOnColorado.com. Through the partnership with BACtrack, CDOT plans to provide smartphone breathalyzers to at least 200 participants for their use during the summer. Participants will complete surveys about drinking habits, driving and their breathalyzer usage. In September, CDOT will compile information gathered from participants and share it with the public.

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Filed Under: City of GranadaCity of HollyCity of LamarCity of WileyConsumer IssuesCountyEducationFeaturedHealthLaw EnforcementMedia ReleasePolice ReportPublic SafetyTransportation

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