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Utah man’s invention designed to prevent drunken driving

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Posted at 6:44 PM, Mar 16, 2013
and last updated 2013-03-16 20:45:04-04

SALT LAKE CITY -- On the eve of St. Patrick’s Day police are increasing patrols to keep people safe, and some bar owners are getting proactive about preventing drunken driving.

One way bar owners plan to keep people safe is by using a product developed by a former student at Westminster College in Salt Lake City. BreathAdvisor is a machine that allows people to test their blood alcohol content, the standard by which drunken driving is judged, before they leave the bar.

Users put $2 into the machine, which then dispenses a straw. The straw is inserted into the machine, and the customer blows into it. The machine displays the users BAC, and it will even provide phone numbers for local cab companies to those who need them.

Jim Stojack is the owner of Canyon Inn, and he has one of the machines installed at his location. He said the device has been successful so far.

“And this way it's a tool they look at it: 'Oh my god, I do need to call a cab,'” he said. “And since we`ve put this in we have a lot more cars left in the parking lot and a lot more use of CMS cab services.”

BreathAdvisor CEO Jason Knott said his goal is to prevent the dangers drunk drivers cause.

“Bar owners are saying that they see customers using it when they think they`re ok, and they end up calling a cab,” he said. “So, that`s our goal, and if we can prevent one DUI a year, this is already worth it to us.”

Knott said he was inspired to create BreathAdvisor after he was pulled over after leaving a bar several years ago. He said that night he blew .01 above the legal BAC limit and was lucky enough to get off on a warning. He said the incident made him think of others who might not even be aware they are over the limit.

The BreathAdvisor is now in four other bars—three of them in Salt Lake City and one of them in Park City. Customers who visit and “like” the company’s Facebook page or follow them on Twitter will get a promotional code to use the machine for free on Saturday.