New device measures alcohol content for drinkers

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About two dozen Minnesota bars are now offering patrons a way to determine if they are safe to drive.

The Pioneer Press reports the IntoxBox is a new, Minnesota invented and produced commercial device that reads blood-alcohol content when someone blows into it.

The device is the brain child of Ryan Walden, co-founder and president of Walden Innovative Resources of Eden Prairie. Now 24, he got the idea for the device while attending college. He saw a need for a product that took the guess work out of figuring out how to stay under the legal limit for drinking. He created a prototype, found an investor (his dad) and started hustling the product.

The device, produced in Winona, costs $2,200 to manufacture. In the past year, the company has placed about 90 devices in bars in 17 states, most averaging 300 to 400 tests per month. The tests cost $2 each, or three friends can be tested for $5. Walden splits the money with his franchisees.

Jon Cummings, founder of the anti-drunken-driving group Minnesotans for Safe Driving, likes the concept. He lost his son to a drunken driver and regularly speaks on victim-impact panels. He said DWI offenders he meets often say they thought they were fine. He compared making a decision about driving without taking a blood-alcohol content test to obeying the speed limit without a speedometer.

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