Drunk driving is a serious problem for everyone on the road, but in Belgium, 33 percent of road deaths on the weekends involve drivers under the age of 25. In an effort to prevent their younger population from hurting themselves or anyone else, one nonprofit has come up with an interesting solution.
The rules were simple: Blow a high number and the exit gate stays closed. Blow within the legal limits and the barrier lifts, allowing your car to exit the parking lot.
It’s like a checkpoint, only smarter. Checkpoints can provide a good measure of protection—for the drivers who actually come upon them. But they’re not necessarily located anywhere near the starting point of a driver’s night out. That can leave a lot of time on the road for people who've had too much to drink.
RYD’s solution obviously takes care of that. And because Carré's customers knew in advance of the breathalyzer exit on the night they tested it, 90 percent of them drank responsibly, or didn’t drink at all, allowing them to exit the club on their first try.
But for partiers who were still too intoxicated, they could wait for their buzz to wear off, let a sober driver take the wheel, or get a ride home. And when comparing those minor inconveniences with getting arrested for drunk driving or getting into an accident, they seem like a pretty small price to pay.
The system does prompt questions about personal privacy. But at least in this case, there were no legal implications for blowing a high score. If anything, the gate simply acted in the same way that a personal breathalyzer would—empowering the driver to know if they've had too much to drink, and act accordingly, without involving the police.
It may not be the most practical solution for widespread use—plenty of clubs and bars don’t have designated parking lots—but it can serve as a model for new and smarter ways of ensuring that party people making their way home at night arrive there safely, and without having to spend time in jail.
Would you go to a club if you knew you'd be breathalyzed on the way out? Let us know in the Comments.