If you often spend your dark (k)nights patrolling the streets of Denver for free shots or dollar wells, take care to get home responsibly. If you don’t prepare, you might find yourself up against a formidable new opponent: the BAT van.
The BAT van is a new tool that Denver police are using to catch drunk drivers at dedicated checkpoints. BAT stands for Breath Alcohol Testing and it is a state-of-the-art mobile DUI testing center. The van has about as many gadgets as you might expect a billionaire-turned-vigilante would, with two machines for taking breath tests, a specialized workplace for analyzing blood samples for alcohol, a drug evaluation room and room for expansion. In three hours, the van can process up to 20 people.
BAT van is not just a tool to punish drunk drivers; it also is part of a police effort to reach out to the community and promote safe alcohol practices.
BAT vans are not unique to Denver – in Houston, Texas, BAT vans started patrolling in early 2011. Since then, several officials throughout the city, including chemists and district attorneys, have questioned the true usefulness of the vans. An investigative report showed that they suffered problems with air-conditioning and electrical devices that could alter the results of breath tests. It also showed that the vans spent most of their time unused – in one case, a van sat untouched for 11 months.
It may be the case that once the novelty wears off, Denver police might need the BAT van less and less. But until then, stick with safe alcohol practices – get an Uber or take the bus. For more information on drunk driving, visit our drunk driving dictionary.
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