Today in History: First person arrested for drunk driving

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118 years ago on September 10, 1897, a 25-year-old London taxi driver named George Smith was the first person ever arrested for drunk driving.

Smith slammed his cab into the side of a building and later pled guilty to driving drunk and was fined only 25 shillings. It was fortunate for police that Smith had openly admitted to driving drunk, because at the time, there was no way to scientifically prove that he had alcohol in his body.

A little more than a decade later, across the pond in the United States, the first laws against operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol were implemented in the U.S., beginning in New York in 1910.

Breathalyzer Prototype

In 1936, Dr. Rolla Harger created the "​Drunkometer," which was a balloon-like device into which people would breathe to determine whether they were intoxicated. Following this invention, Robert Borkenstein collaborated with Harger in 1953 to invent the Breathalyzer — a device still used today.

While there have been worlds of progress in regards drunk driving detection, driving under the influence statistics are shockingly high. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 63 percent of people in the United States will be involved in a drunk driving accident at some point in their life.

In the tragic video below, this police officer's daughter was killed by a drunk driver while he worked a nearby sobriety checkpoint:

Officer's Daughter Killed by Drunk Driver as He Worked DUI Checkpoint


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