Device prevents repeat DUI offenders from driving drunk

New technology helps keeps streets safe from DUIs

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- It looks similar to an ankle bracelet someone on house arrest would have to wear, but it can read how much alcohol is in your system. One mother is hopeful the new technology will save families from tragedy.

“I wake up every morning and it's the last thing on my mind at night,” Cathy Ferguson said.

Her son, Jason, was hit and killed by a drunk driver in February of last year. A 21-year veteran with the Louisville Metro Police Department herself, Ferguson says she had responded to numerous DUI cases over the years.

“You never think about it affecting you or hitting home with you.  And when you get that call, it's the worst thing that can ever happen,” Ferguson said.

Now, Jefferson County is making changes that will hopefully save families from the pain Ferguson feels every day.

“This device that you wear on your ankle 24 hours a day for constant monitoring is the best technology I've seen since I've been County Attorney,” Mike O’Connell, Jefferson County Attorney, said.

The ankle bracelet reads person's blood alcohol content every 30 minutes, and the data is reported to a judge, like Stephanie Burke.

“When we're able to identify someone who is able to be successful on the program and not re-offend, that gives the court very useful information,” Burke said.

Jefferson County has already started issuing the bracelets. About a dozen people are already using them.

It's a lifesaving tool that could save someone's loved one in the future.

It is important that to remember that this is just another tool for judges. They also use other systems to prevent offenders from drinking and driving like installing breathalyzers in cars so people can't drive if they've been drinking.

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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