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Patch to deter drunk driving may soon hit the market

Massachusetts motorists who enjoy an evening out with friends but who are also concerned about the potentially devastating effects of drinking and driving may soon reap the benefit of one company's bid to end alcohol intoxication behind the wheel. In connection with a mission to solve problems that exist in communities scattered across the globe, DERMATEC, a start-up out of Albuquerque has developed an alcohol detection patch that could ultimately reduce the number of DUI-related injuries and deaths.

The product has been named ONUSBlue in recognition that it's "on us" to put an end to drunk driving. Although New Mexico has one of the nation's highest rates of DUI occurrences per capita, product developers say that an effective way of solving the problem has not really been addressed until now.

The concept is simple. Party-goers and bar patrons can now wear a small patch on their arm that will let them know when they've had too much to drink. The patch, which senses alcohol intake through sweat, changes color when its wearer is no longer sober enough to get behind the wheel. The developer's effort is focused on getting the patches mass-produced. Although some grants have been obtained for this purpose, more funding is needed before the product will be widely available in the marketplace.

Pulling heavily from state and federal statistics, data research published by one independent conductor indicates that nearly 13,000 drunk driving arrests were made in Massachusetts in 2015. Whether availability of the ONUSBlue patch will eventually lead to a reduction in the number of future arrests is unknown, but for now, motorists who inadvertently find themselves facing a drunk driving charge following an evening spent out with friends may find it most beneficial to discuss their defense options with an attorney.

Source: Statistic Brain, DUI arrest statistics," Staff, Aug. 1, 2016

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