Everyone once in awhile you hear of an anti-drunk driving campaign that you really remember. Attention getting campaigns like prisoners appearing in bar bathroom mirrors or over-the-top slogans on coasters all manage to stay in your thoughts long after you’ve seen them, and that might be why people are talking about business cards that work as a sort of breathalyzer.
There’s a joint initiative going on right now in Russia that pairs a local bar and the ride-sharing app Uber. When you visit the bar you’re handed what looks like a business card. When you’re ready to leave you can pull an alcohol test strip off the card, lick it, and see whether or not you’re safe to drive.
According to the makers of the business cards, when the strip turns yellow, you’re safe to drive. If it’s green you should hand over your keys to someone else or call an Uber driver for a pickup.
Most pocket breathalyzers or a breathalyzer you would find on the wall of a bar is pretty accurate, and saliva-based alcohol test strips are known to be accurate too, but should you rely on them to decide whether or not you should get behind the wheel of a car? Probably not, and here’s why.
Blood alcohol concentrations are rated on a scale for a reason. They’re used as guidelines to determine how intoxicated you are, with .08 being the legal limit you can be at before you can be charged with drunk driving. One of the problems with a pass/fail system like you’d get with saliva-based test strips is that you don’t know where you fall on that scale. What if you received a yellow on the strip when you were 0.7? Would you really be OK to drive?
Another reason why you might not want to rely on a test strip is that buzzed driving is just as dangerous as drunk driving. Even one glass can affect your ability to drive, and if the test strip gives you the go-ahead and you get behind the wheel? Anything can happen.
Alcohol affects everyone differently, but you should always keep in mind that there’s no safe amount of alcohol you can consume before you drive, so your best choice is not to drink at all when you know you’re going to drive.