Auto history: breathalyzer

The car made life easier for man. However, compared with the same horse, he has one obvious drawback - you can't drive drunk. And what if you drank, and you need to go? The dilemma especially becomes relevant during the holidays, especially as protracted as the New Year and Christmas. A number of drivers solve this question simply: I sat down and drove off. With the massive proliferation of "iron horses" a "drunk ride" has become a mass phenomenon. One of the methods of dealing with malicious violators became verification. However, they were not as effective until the invention of a special device. “Well, breathe,” - after this phrase, the state of a person can now be determined not only by the “aroma” coming from his mouth, but also by the composition of the exhaled air. The first device that allowed to do this was developed by an American biochemist and toxicologist from Indianapolis Rolla Neil Harger in 1931, although research in this area was conducted at the end of the 19th century. The period of the 1920s and 1930s was special for America, since until the year 1933 there was a “dry law” in the United States: it was forbidden not only to consume, but also to produce and sell alcohol.

The first breathalyzer was developed in the USA in the 1930s

According to historical chronicles, the state of New York in 1910 was the first to impose a ban on alcohol for drivers, and soon other regions joined it. In the UK, such restrictions appeared after 15 years. The police then had to rely on the sometimes subjective methods of determining the state of a person. They paid attention to the eyes, the smell from the mouth, asked to walk in a straight line, stand on one leg, touch the tip of the nose with a finger. The situation has changed the drunkometer. The name was derived from the word drunk (drunk) and meter (meter).

The first breathalyzer, which began to apply the police in the US

The principle of its work was similar to modern Alcohol Testers: the driver blew into a tube attached to a small ball. If there were alcohol vapors in the exhale, the color of the ball changed and became more intense as the person drank "strong drinks". Harger patented his device in 1936.

In the USSR, the first breathalyzer appeared in the 1970s

By the way, the scientist was engaged not only in the development of this device, but also on the committee of the National Safety Council, which was actively fighting drunk on the roads. In particular, the merits of Harger include the fact that the state of Indiana was the first in which the permissible rate of alcohol content in the driver’s blood was established, the excess of which was punishable by law.

Breathalyzer Creator Shows His Invention

On New Year's Eve, December 31, 1938, the Indianapolis City Police Department officially approved the Harger device for use by law enforcement officials. The device, of course, was a great help for the police, but it was not very accurate, it took about ten minutes to conduct the test, and the device itself looked more like a mini lab. The device was improved by Robert Borkenstein, who renamed the device into a breathalyzer, which literally means “breath analyzer”.

Robert Borkenstein refined Rolla Harger’s invention

In the USSR, the first breathalyzers appeared in the 1970s, which were not very accurate. In the 89s, electronic devices began to be used that were more efficient. Today, in Russia, the permissible rate of alcohol at the wheel is 0.16 per mille with exhaled air and 0.35 in the blood.

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