Cowboy Jack’s, a country western bar in Minneapolis has recently installed the IntoxBox, a machine that gives patrons the opportunity to test their level of intoxication, much like a Breathalyzer might — for a fee. The IntoxBox was developed and created by Ryan Walden, who developed the device to help prevent drunk driving in Minnesota.
Walden reasons that we have speedometers in our cars to help us obey speeding laws, so why shouldn’t we have a tool to help us determine if we are over the legal blood alcohol limit? His hope is that the IntoxBox will give people who aren’t sure of their level of intoxication the chance to find out just how drunk they are before they make the decision to drive.
Walden got the idea for the machine in 2008 after a friend was charged with drunk driving. He started researching and drafted a business plan. As part of his research, he interviewed different members of the liquor industry. From bar owners to distributors of Breathalyzer machines, he gathered their opinions and complaints about the products currently on the market and sought to incorporate the improvements they recommended into his design.
The first version of the IntoxBox proved to be too complicated for operators to use successfully. Walden improved the design by inputting more pictures and taking out some of the written instructions in order to “make it really hard to mess up.”
Patrons at Cowboy Jack’s pay $2.00 to get their blood alcohol content analyzed. Before blowing, the patron also has a chance to guess what their blood alcohol content will be. If the patron guesses correctly, they win a voucher for a free test. To get the most accurate results, patrons should wait 10-15 minutes after their last drink to take the test.
Critics worry that people will see the product as a game, or that people will rely on its presence and drink without a plan for how to get home. Walden disagrees. He has occasion to use the IntoxBox when he was out with friends. His BAC registered a .11, and Walden asked a friend to drive him home. He said it helped him realize he should not be driving.
Source: Star Tribune, “Helping you know your limit,” Wendy Lee, Aug. 29, 2011