Motorists will soon be able to detect if they are over the legal drink-driving limit while brushing their teeth.
He ‘The world’s first breathalyser toothbrush has been described as a “revolutionary invention designed to refresh the conversation about drink-driving and help Brits avoid hitting the roads over the limit the morning after a night out.” consuming alcohol.”
Called ‘Brushalyser’, it could be on the market in 2024, according to insurer Direct Line.
‘World’s first breathalyzer toothbrush’: Direct Line says device is currently in development but could be on market next year
The insurer says the device will make people Think twice before driving with a morning hangover by “seamlessly integrating breath tests into Brits’ morning routines.”
It works like most regular electric toothbrushes that you can buy in stores today.
However, once the user has finished brushing, they can blow into the breathalyzer located on the back of the toothbrush handle to check that they are below the driving alcohol limit.
A light flashes red and vibrates if they exceed the limit and lights green if it is safe to drive.
It works like most regular electric toothbrushes you can buy in stores these days.
Once the user has finished brushing their teeth, they can blow into the breathalyzer located on the back of the toothbrush handle.
This image of the back of the toothbrush shows where the breathalyzer is located.
If the driver blows a sample above the legal drink driving limit, the light flashes red and vibrates
A negative test sample sees the toothbrush light illuminate green, indicating that the motorist can drive safely.
The toothbrush is still in the testing phase, but could be launched on the market next year.
The gadget was unveiled just days after the Department for Transport confirmed that road casualty figures in Britain had increased by 10 per cent in 2022 compared to a 2021 affected by Covid restrictions.
It found that deaths on our roads had returned to pre-pandemic levels, with impairment caused by drugs or alcohol identified as one of the most common causes: 10.4 per cent of reported deaths included a driver who exceeded the limit.
Road deaths have increased as a result of rising traffic levels following the pandemic, the Government says, with figures now almost on par with 2019 statistics.
Direct Line’s own research suggests that a quarter of British adults admit to driving in the morning after a night out, despite feeling under the influence of alcohol.
In a survey of 2,000 drivers, it was found that younger drivers, aged between 18 and 34, are the biggest offenders, with half confessing to getting behind the wheel the morning after a night out.
Lorraine Price, head of motor insurance at Direct Line, said: “The breathalyser toothbrush aims to remind people that they could be over the limit the morning after drinking, and seamlessly links breathalyzer testing with Morning routines of the British.
“We are aware that this is in the early stages of development, but change is needed now, so we urge people to know how long it takes to get sober.”
“You might even consider purchasing a breathalyzer for your home or car to check before you hit the road in the morning.”
Direct Line is not the only industry expert considering the additional use of breathalysers in cars.
Vehicle manufacturers, including Spanish manufacturer Seat, have been developing alcolocks, which are breathalyzers integrated into the vehicles’ ignition system and which require a legal sample to be taken before the engine can be started and the driver can drive away. .
These are aimed at people with previous drink-driving convictions, and the Government is under pressure to introduce them as soon as possible.
DirectLine hopes the device will address the number of drivers who unknowingly get behind the wheel in the morning while still over the alcohol limit from drinking the night before.
Dr. Joeran Koechling, an expert in the field of research into why people drink and drive, called the device an “incredibly clever invention.”
The Brushalyser device has already received backing from Dr Joeran Koechling, who recently led a University of Cambridge study into the reasons behind drink-driving and, in particular, how accurately drivers can estimate their fitness. to drive after drinking alcohol.
He said: “I have spent years studying data on traffic accident victims and, whilst it has always been worrying, the fact that people openly confess to taking to the roads while under the influence of alcohol is shocking.”
‘This invention is incredibly clever. It seamlessly incorporates breath testing into drivers’ morning routines – even the visual reminder of looking at the breathalyzer section on the back while brushing your teeth acts as a prompt to take stock and check your alcohol levels.
“Traffic injuries have become the leading cause of death among people between the ages of five and 29, and the World Health Organization has recently declared that alcohol-related traffic accidents are one of the main causes.
“Our own study specifically showed that drivers misjudge their alcohol levels, meaning people consider themselves fit to drive when they actually have dangerous levels of alcohol in their blood.”
A recent study from the University of Sheffield has found that breathalysers used by police on the roads may be penalizing shorter and older drivers.
Police Breathalyzers Penalize Short and Old Drivers
Another recent study, this time conducted by University of Sheffieldfound that police roadside breath tests risk wrongly criminalizing short and elderly people.
This is because it has been identified that they probably do not have enough lung capacity to blow into them and provide a conclusive reading, the research suggests.
If a driver cannot breathe hard enough into the machine after being stopped by an officer, their sample may be considered invalid and they may automatically be charged with a criminal offense.
There are approximately 4,000 convictions for ‘failure to provide services’ in the UK each year, and punishment can include disqualification from driving and a maximum of six months in prison.
However, the university found that many people are simply not physically capable of providing a satisfactory breath sample.
An analysis of 280,000 people in the UK Biobank who completed lung capacity tests showed that a “significant minority” do not have lungs strong or large enough to provide a valid sample for the machines.
This is especially true for older people, women, smokers and people of short stature, he concluded.
Galen Ives, who led the study, said: ‘Although there are currently procedures for collecting alternative samples in cases where someone using a breathalyzer testing machine does not provide a valid sample, the current belief of authorities is that unless you have a respiratory illness, everyone should be able to use them. .
“We now know that this is false, so it is vitally important that police forces are alerted to the fact that certain groups of people are more likely to be unable to use these machines and should therefore adopt a more equitable application of the law for individuals who do not obviously impede the course of the investigation, and take an alternative sample, such as a blood or urine test.’
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