Are breathalyzers in bars helping or hurting? - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Are breathalyzers in bars helping or hurting?


Becky Russo and Bill Schmooke were concerned with the number of people drinking and driving in Iowa.

In an effort to stop people they created Be SAFE Iowa, Supporting Alcohol Friendly Establishments.

They install breathalyzers in bars and restaurants.

Since starting in May, they've already installed nine units from Cedar Rapids to Iowa City.

"No one wants someone to leave their bar and get an OWI," said Russo.  "They really do care about everyone in there."

The first machine was installed at the Fieldhouse North Liberty.

General Manager Darby Haase worried it would become a game for customers but said that hasn't been a big problem.

"I've seen it here and there, just kind of jokes about to see who can blow the highest but I don't see it getting out of control," said Haase.

"The game starts when people start going back and forth between the bar and the machine, the bar and the machine and that hasn't been a problem," said Schmooke.

Should the machines turn into more of a game, the co-founders say they can raise the price from one dollar per blow to five.

"Five dollars versus what it's going to cost you-close to $5000 for an OWI- those who really want to avoid that, it's not going to deter them," said Russo.

It doesn't cost an establishment to have a breathalyzer installed.

The machines have ads that run on them, paying for the cost of the unit.

If you're interested in having a breathalyzer installed in your business, or want to rent one for your next event, you can visit their web site,


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