High Schools' Breath Alcohol Testing Saves Lives

New breath alcohol screeners from Lifeloc Technologies promote student safety at school events

Kevin Sutherland, Public Safety Director of the Beaverton School District, has witnessed first-hand the life-saving power of school breath alcohol testing. The period surrounding Prom accounts for as many as 40% of all underage alcohol related traffic deaths.

The Public Safety Office works collaboratively within the Beaverton School District and community partners to ensure the safety and welfare of students and staff throughout the district. The Beaverton School District works closely with the Washington County Sheriff's Office, the Beaverton Police Department and School Resource Officers.  These organizations sponsor the SKID Program (Stop Kids Impaired Driving) to educate high school students about the dangers of drinking and driving. At the program’s start, six to ten teenagers died each year in alcohol related crashes. In recent years, there have only been three deaths and five injuries from similar crashes.

Says Kevin, “We purchased five Lifeloc FC5 Hornets to deploy in our schools to aid in identification of impaired students.  The efforts are aimed at early intervention and safety planning.”  District administrators acting on reasonable suspicion may request that police or sheriff personnel administer Breathalyzer screening for alcohol at school, prior to or during a school sponsored event. If a student refuses, he/she may be subject to school discipline and/or referral to law enforcement officials.

Prior to testing students with Lifeloc breath testers, School Resource Officers conducted standard field sobriety tests (SFST) to determine if students were under the influence of alcohol at school events. In performing an SFST, officers request suspects to perform divided attention tests. The three tests of the SFST are Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus (watching the eyes), Walk-and-Turn, and One-Leg Stand. When the component tests of the SFST battery are combined, officers are accurate in 91 percent of cases, overall, and in 94 percent of cases if explanations for some of the false positives are accepted (Stuster and Burns, 1998). Subjects can fail this test even though they are not under the influence of alcohol. Field sobriety tests average three minutes per student and allow for human error while the Lifeloc Breathalyzer responds virtually instantly.

Today Officers use Lifeloc’s FC5 to rapidly screen approximately 200 students prior to event entry. Students must provide consent to be tested at school dances and sporting events. The FC5 is a zero tolerance alcohol screener that can test people, ambient air and open drink containers. The FC5 is designed for automatic and manual zero tolerance alcohol screening. In automatic mode the subject blows onto the collector cone and the test triggers automatically. A POS (alcohol detected) or NEG (no alcohol) result appears almost instantly, making it suitable for screening high numbers of students entering events. In manual mode the device can test ambient air or open drink containers.

Breath alcohol testing at High School events is a proven deterrent to illegal underage drinking. While Breathalyzer use can be controversial, reducing alcohol related accidents and fatalities should never be. For more information on implementing breath alcohol screening, please contact Lifeloc at sales@lifeloc.com or call 303.931.9500.

About Lifeloc Technologies 
Lifeloc Technologies (OTC:LCTC) is a trusted U.S. manufacturer of evidential breath alcohol testers and provider of drug testing products for Schools, Workplace, Law Enforcement, and International customers.

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