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Yoga, Beer and Breathalyzers: A New Way to Stay Safe While Drinking

Yoga, Beer and Breathalyzers: A New Way to Stay Safe While DrinkingEXPAND
Colorado Department of Transportation
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Yoga and beer is a fun, albeit odd, combination. Yoga naturally relaxes you, while beer alters your brain chemistry so that you can chill out even more. But combining beer, yoga and driving is a no-no. And the Colorado Department of Transportation is now on a mission to inform the public that recreation and alcohol consumption shouldn't mix on the road.

CDOT has partnered with BACtrack, a personal-breathalyzer company, to inform the public about the risks of drinking and driving. And the method they used to educate Colorado residents may surprise you.

A casting call on Craigslist asked actors and yoga practitioners to come to C Squared Ciders on Thursday, July 26. As far as they knew, they were to get drunk, practice yoga and make $100 for their time.

Participants, including myself, showed up an hour before the yoga began. We were encouraged to drink, and C Squared Ciders provided a choice of either a lager or cider.

I traded my blue jeans for athletic shorts and gave up my Vans for bare feet. To prep, I drank one lager and two ciders.

Yoga, Beer and Breathalyzers: A New Way to Stay Safe While DrinkingEXPAND
Colorado Department of Transportation

Once the yoga kicked off at 10 a.m., the instructors made sure that all the different poses centered around taking sips of booze. Instead of thanking the sun during sun salutations, we thanked the alcohol by drinking it. After twenty minutes, we were then guided into a breathing exercise.

Abruptly, the yoga instructors whipped out a BACtrack breathalyzer and asked for a volunteer. The first person blew a .05 into the pocket-size device, which can link to a cell phone through Bluetooth. The next person blew just over a .1. One man even blew a .22 (his high BAC measure may have had something to do with the fact that the BACtrack requires fifteen minutes of not drinking alcohol before it can accurately measure how intoxicated someone is).

Despite having three large glasses of booze, I blew only a .06. I did not drive home, but instead made use of the complimentary Lyft vouchers provided by the event organizers. When I saw on my phone that my Lyft had arrived, I looked into the car and recognized my driver. “Yeah, I was at the event," he told me. "But don’t worry, man. I’m good. I only had one beer. I blew a .03."

His blood alcohol level was under the Colorado limit of .05, which can get you a driving-while-ability-impaired charge. Blowing a .08 or more gets you a driving-under-the-influence charge.

But being arrested for drunk driving is not the only risk that people take when they get behind the wheel after a few drinks. Last month, 22 people died in Colorado in drunk-driving-related accidents. Nationwide, 29 people die every day in these types of accidents.

To help lower the number of drunk-driving deaths, BACtrack is offering Coloradans a deal. Keith Nothacker, founder and CEO of the group behind the personal-breathalyzer product, is selling them to residents for 50 percent off the typical $100 price tag.

Your friends will also appreciate the device, since they can see how much booze is in their system compared to how drunk they feel. And the product might just save a few lives in the process.

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