Breathalyzer Tests Resume as Drunk-Driving Accidents Spike

  • By Lee Dong-hwi

    May 18, 2020 13:15

    A police officer asks a driver to blow into a breathalyzer during a trial run in Gwangju, Gyeonggi Province, in this file photo from April 18, 2020. /Yonhap

    Breathalyzer tests for drivers resume on Monday, 111 days after they were suspended in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak, according to police.

    But now only non-contact breathalyzers will be used so that drivers do not have to inhale any droplets that could be contaminated with coronavirus.

    Police stopped using conventional breathalyzers on Jan. 28 to prevent the spread of the virus.

    But alcohol-related car accidents promptly jumped by 24.4 percent and deaths rose by 6.8 percent on-year between January and March, making the move potentially more dangerous than the epidemic that has shut down the entire economy.

    For testing, police officers will place the non-contact alcohol sensor inside the car window, and hold it about 30 cm from the driver and measure his or her breath for five seconds.

    "We're going to use the new sensor to protect people from both coronavirus and drunk driving," a police spokesman said.

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