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History Of Drunk Driving

History Of Drunk Driving

Over the past century, drinking and driving has continued to be a problem. As early as 1897, the first recorded drunk driving arrest was made. It was a man named George Smith who drove a taxi cab in London as a living. One night, Smith was drinking and driving and crashed into a building. After he was arrested for drunk driving, he eventually plead guilty to the charge. He was sentenced to pay 25 shillings.

In America, just a few years after the drunk driving arrest in London, New York became the first state to create drunk driving laws. Unlike today, these early 20th century drunk driving laws did not have a set limit in terms of a person’s blood alcohol content.

The Development Of The Breathalyzer

Over time, machines were developed to help determine the amount of alcohol that may be in a person’s blood at the time they were driving. In the mid 1930s, the Drunkometer was developed. Similar to the breath test devices used today, this machine would be blown into in order to help determine how intoxicated a person may be.

Then in 1953, a university professor who first helped develop the Drunkometer came up with the idea for the Breathalyzer that is still used today. Using chemical oxidation and photometry, the machine was designed to measure alcohol vapors in a person’s breath, which could then be converted into how much alcohol is in a person’s blood.

This portable machine was favored by law enforcement because it was relatively easy to administer and portable, which meant it could be conducted during a DUI roadside stop. However, even though citizens knew it was illegal to drink and drive, the dangers of this act were not made public until the 1970s.

Stringent Regulations On Drunk Driving

As police officers and lawmakers began to get tougher on DUI laws, MADD was founded in 1980 and forever changed this area of law. The founder of MADD was a woman whose 13-year-old daughter was killed in an automobile accident by a drunk driver who had three prior convictions. Sadly, he was out on bail after he was involved in a hit-and-run just two days earlier.

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