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Breathalyzer in bars: Would police have access to information?

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A breathalyzer in bars is a measure one Utah representative is proposing to help drinkers determine if they are sober enough to drive.

SF Gate reports Feb. 14 that breathalyzer devices in bars will be on a upcoming proposal in the state by Draper Republican Rep. Greg Hughes. The measure is in its early stages, but its goal is to reduce the problem with drunk driving in Utah. Hughes says a breathalyzer in bars "makes good sense."

According to the report, the measure would not involve any bar to install test devices and businesses will not be held accountable for customers who fail the breathalyzer and choose to drive.

Hughes also believes a breathalyzer in bars would "help younger drinkers who are still learning their limits."

There are some club and bar owners who are not sure about the measure because they do not trust the accuracy of alcohol levels in the tests.

Breathalyzers run around $1,000. Some bars already have this type of device attached to a wall that requires $2 for a reading. People tend to do it for curiosity and a laugh more than anything else, the report notes.

Will the breathalyzer in bars be a mandatory test for patrons? Will police have access to information contained on it? Hughes said no to both. It is optional for club and bar-goers... and police will "not gain access to any data collected."

By next week Hughes hopes the bill will be completed and ready.

"It's not illegal to drink in the state of Utah," Hughes said. "It's not illegal to drink and operate a vehicle" with an alcohol level below the legal cutoff. "How does a consumer know where they're at, exactly? I think it makes sense."

Some people might not like the idea of a breathalyzer in bars..feeling as though it violates some sort of privacy right. On the other hand, it can make drinkers reconsider getting behind the wheel when they really should not.

Copyright © 2014 Heather Tooley

Heather focuses on trending news and entertainment headlines. To read more from this writer, her Twitter page is @HotTopicWriter or hit "Subscribe."

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