March 18, 2015

Clubs in UK Breathalyze Patrons to Curb Alcohol-Related Violence

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Londoners may need to do more than pay a cover charge to get into nightclubs. The London Metropolitan Police (the Met) is testing a new program to let club staff give breathalyzer tests to patrons before they can enter. If the person registers a “high” BrAC—approximately twice the U.K. legal driving limit—they are turned away at the door.

Dubbed Operation Equinox, breath testing clubbers is part of the Met’s attempts to crack down on drinking-related violence during the city’s nighttime economy. Recent stats show violence has increased as much as 39% in some of the city’s boroughs, particularly in areas with a significant number of pubs, nightclubs, and fast-food restaurants.

Club owners and officials complain that “pre-loading”—where club-goers fill up on booze before heading out for the night—is a big part of the problem. Too often people are drunk before they even hit the dance floor, which can lead to fights with staff and other patrons, as well as violence after the club closes down.

The clubs piloting the program report that breath testing is keeping out people who have had too much to drink. And it is reducing confrontations with door staff, as people are less likely to argue with the breathalyzer readings. The program is being tested in the borough of Croydon, which is also a pilot site for the Mayor of London’s sobriety scheme to target alcohol-related violence using sobriety tags.

What do you think of breath testing clubbers? Would a similar program work in the U.S. to cut down on drunk driving or other alcohol-related offenses?


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The acronyms DUI, DWI, OMVI and OVI all refer to the same thing: operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The most commonly used terms are DUI, an acronym for Driving Under the Influence, and DWI, an acronym for Driving While Impaired.
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