Who was the first nozzle behind the wheel?

On the night of September 10, 1897, Londoners woke up to a loud crash. A car had been driven off the road and the driver was going to make history.

On the night of September 10, 1897, Londoners woke up to a loud crash. A car had been driven off the road and the driver was going to make history.

Taxi driver George Smith had the dubious honor of being the first person to be arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. This happened on September 10, 1897, when George lost control of his car and crashed into a house in London, causing a water pipe to burst.

When 25-year-old George Smith got out of the car, he was clearly intoxicated. The man was arrested and taken to the nearest police station.

Under British law from 1872, it was illegal to operate any “carriage or steam engine” under the influence of alcohol. At the time, the breathalyzer had not yet been invented, and as a result, the police could not determine the amount of alcohol in George’s blood.

However, the man admitted shortly afterwards that he had had “two or three beers” and the police released him in return for paying a fine of 25 shillings, which corresponds to over six thousand kr√≥na in today’s value.

A reliable and convenient breathalyzer appeared in the 1960s, and after that the police could determine whether drivers were under the influence of alcohol or not.

New York first banned drunk driving

In 1910, a law was passed in New York that prohibited drivers from getting behind the wheel while intoxicated. However, the city’s police officers had a hard time enforcing the law, but in 1936 a scientist tried to help the law enforcers. Professor Rolla Harger received a patent for the so-called “Drunkometer” this year, which was a device that could reveal whether people had tasted alcohol.

However, the machine was both unsuitable and inaccurate and it was not until 18 years later, i.e. in 1954 the American Robert Borkenstein invented the first alcohol meter similar to those used today.

With Borkenstein’s measuring device, it was possible to measure the amount of alcohol in the air we exhale with great accuracy. With this small device, the police were finally able to determine how much alcohol the drivers had consumed.

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