Safety group urges party hosts to breathalyze guests


VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) – Would you host a holiday party and make your guests blow into a breathalyzer to make sure they’re not driving drunk?

A California safety group is proposing just that as we head into the holiday season.

“When you’re having a party you want to have a good time and you want everyone to be safe, and that means having them be able to get home,” says Christian Jacobs with Operation Save Lives.

“One of the big problems is when people are drinking they’re not the greatest guessers of their blood alcohol content [BAC] levels.”

He suggests people buy a more sophisticated breathalyzer and have guests blow into it to make sure they’re not going to drive drunk.

He says party hosts can turn it into a game, “just to guess their BAC, to show them, ‘Maybe you don’t really know [if you can drive.],'” Jacobs explains.

“We can’t force everyone to behave properly… we know that. But there are a lot of intelligent people out there who don’t want the ramifications of a drunk driving arrest.”

Jacobs says impaired driving crashes are the leading cause of death in the United States for people aged three to 42.

He says there are good breathalyzers you can deploy on your guests but admits there could be plenty of legal issues, like if the host administering the breathalyzer has had a few too many.

“I, as an individual, and I think probably you, as an individual, want to go have a couple drinks. But you don’t want to go have a couple drinks and get arrested and run into someone and bodily injure them or maybe kill them,” he says. “So I think that would probably take precedence [over legal issues with administering a breathalyzer to guests]. I don’t really know about that, but I know there are going to be legal ramifications if one is thrown in jail. You’re definitely going to be calling a lawyer then.”

Last year the BC Government brought in what it calls the toughest drunk driving laws in Canada. It says fatal car crashes involving alcohol dropped by half in the first seven months of the new rules being rolled out.

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