'Buzzkill Flashlight' Helps Law Enforcement Crack Down on Drunk Driving


If you're a Monongalia County resident you might have noticed some billboards urging you not to drink and drive including "Buzzed Driving is Drunk Driving." Well, you might have noticed a new one about the "Buzzkill Flashlight".

The Monongalia County Sheriff's Department has partnered with the WVU School of Public Health to provide law enforcement with the new tool.

The "Buzzkill Flashlight" is actually called the Passive Alcohol Sensor. It received the name after doing focus groups and hearing kids saying, "That's a buzzkill."

The point of the device is to detect levels of alcohol when an officer first approaches the car.

"Those are the levels that are harder or the hardest for most officers to detect. So we say that the "Buzzkill Flashlight" is an extension of the officers nose. It will detect those .01 or .02 levels of alcohol." said Sgt. John Kisner, of the Sheriff's Department.

The Monongalia County Sheriff's Department had the equipment donated to them as part of the Zero Tolerance Driving Initiative at WVU.

The School of Public Health has three waves. The first wave focuses on the existence of the zero tolerance law. The second wave introduces the "Buzzkill Flashlight". And the third wave, emphasizes the increased enforcement using the flashlight.

"Publicizing to our target audience which are 16 to 20-year-olds that this enhanced enforcement is out there," said Lova Jaros, program manager at the School of Public Health. "So that we can give them a chance that police are going to be out there with these new Buzzkill Flashlights and stay off the roads."

The main purpose of detecting the low levels of alcohol are for people who are drinking under the age of 21.

The Sheriff's Department said using the device is also probable cause to pull someone, of drinking age, over to test their sobriety.

"If you decide you are going to drive you need to have a designated driver that's going to come and pick you up," Kisner said. "Because we are out there, we do have these available to us, and we do use them."

The Monongalia County Sheriff's Department has two officers with the flashlights assigned to them permanently. They also use them at all of their DUI Check points.

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