clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

COALITION HOPES DEVICES DETER TEEN DRINKING

A citizen's group hopes donating two intoxilyzers to two local police agencies will help deter teens from drinking and driving.

The Alcohol Policy Coalition bought the intoxilyzers, hand-held instruments that measure blood alcohol through a breath test, and gave one to the Salt Lake County sheriff's office and one to the Utah Highway Patrol.One of the coalition members, Dr. George Van Komen, presented the intoxilyzers Monday afternoon and said he hopes they will help officers enforce the "not a drop" law enacted two years ago.

The law forbids drivers under 21 from having any detectable amount of alcohol in their systems. The penalty is a suspended license for 90 days.

Van Komen's group, made up of representatives from citizens' groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving, was alarmed when fatal accidents involving alcohol went from eight in 1992 to 16 in 1993.

"We hope to educate young people about the not-a-drop law," he said. Van Komen said the inability of law enforcement officers to "convince our young people they should be paying attention to the not-a-drop law" is one reason his group decided to buy two for local officers.

The sheriff's office only has two other intoxilyzers, and representatives accepting the hand-held devices said deputies will put them to good use.

Lt. Larry Bringhurst said deputies will use the device in local canyons where teens often go in the spring and summer for parties.

"The message we want to get out is that not a drop means not a drop," Bringhurst said.

The intoxilyzers cost about $590, and officers said most agencies just don't have the money to arm all officers with their own devices.