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Auto shop helps deter drinking and driving

Published: Monday, Aug. 25, 2014 11:19 p.m. CST
Caption
(Monica Maschak - mmaschak@shawmedia.com)
Sean Kellett, owner of Think Driven, calibrates a customer's car breathalyzer by plugging it into the computer system on Friday. Customers who have a breathalyzer in their car must get it calibrated once a month.
Caption
(Monica Maschak – mmaschak@shawmedia.com)
Customers who have a breathalyzer in their car must get their breathalyzer calibrated once a month.

SYCAMORE – Think Driven owner Sean Kellett makes sure that every time he installs a breathalyzer in a customer’s car, he also is teaching them about the dangers of drinking and driving.

Kellett’s auto repair business at 1730 Afton Road, Unit 3, Sycamore, also includes the installation and recallibration of breathalyzer systems in cars for DUI offenders who need them.

He was inspired to train with Smart Start Illinois to install breath alcohol ignition interlock devices (BAIID) when he read about an accident about 10 years ago in which a young intoxicated man crashed and killed an entire family, Kellett said.

“I try not to embarrass people,” he said. “I tell them it’s not a big deal. Just get through it, and hopefully they’ll learn their lesson.”

Kellett said he has about 30 customers using the service and normally recalibrates one device a day.

Sycamore resident Kayleigh Burton heard about the service after she got her second DUI in Wisconsin when she was 25 years old. Her first DUI offense occurred was when she was 21 years old and blew a 0.1 blood-alcohol content just after the legal limit was reduced from 0.1 to 0.08, she said.

Now 28, Burton has had the BAIID in her Hyundai Elantra for almost a year. She has to blow into the device in order to start her car. A photo is taken to ensure the driver is the person registered to the car.

Burton’s car also randomly asks her to blow into the BAIID while she is driving. If she doesn’t comply within about five minutes, the car will shut off, an alarm will flash and the BAIID will beep every 15 seconds.

BAIIDs are so sensitive they can pick up whether someone used mouthwash or ate a cough drop, which both can contain alcohol. BAIIDs need to be recalibrated once a month to keep the system in check.

Burton hopes that her experience will deter others from drinking and driving. She is studying to become a registered nurse, is a straight A student and received multiple grants and scholarships.

“It gets you in a good habit,” Burton said. “It definitely got me in a good habit being responsible and planning before I go and have drinks.”

Anyone can get a DUI, Kellett said. He said he has seen all ages, backgrounds and “good people” who make a mistake and end up with the device.

Kellett said part of his job is to try to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

“I’m helping people learn how not to drink and drive,” he said. “It’s just not worth it. It’s easier to call a cab than to have this put in your car.”

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