Eating Ice Cream Causes False Breathalyzer Positive Test Result

from the oops dept

Paul Brinker writes in to let us know of an odd case in Australia, where a man who had a breath-testing device installed in his car (presumably due to previous DUI convictions) asked a court to remove it after he was unable to start his car one day after eating some ice cream. Curious as to whether or not ice cream could actually set off a breathlyzer-type device, the court ordered a test, whereby the man breathed a 0.00 blood-alcohol level, then took a few bites of the same exact ice cream (Bubble O'Bill, for those wondering) and was then tested again, showing a 0.018 blood-alcohol level. The guy won the case, and was allowed to remove the device. While I'm all for getting drunk drivers off the road, it is at least somewhat troubling that just a few bites of a non-alcoholic food could lead to false positives on such testing devices.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Eric the Grey, Jan 22nd, 2009 @ 11:55am

    I've been told...

    I've been told that gum and mints will also trigger a false positive as well. Don't know if it's due to something specific in the mint flavorings or not, but there you have it.



    EtG

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    John Duncan Yoyo, Jan 22nd, 2009 @ 11:56am

    Couldn't the court just tell the guy to rinse out his mouth before trying to start the car?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Lucretious, Jan 22nd, 2009 @ 12:05pm

    tobacco will raise the reading as well.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2009 @ 12:08pm

    This is because breathalyzers don't measure alcohol levels, they measure ketone levels: proteins that are created as a result of the body's metabolism of alcohol in the liver.

    Apparently, this ice cream and mints have such ketones.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    JB, Jan 22nd, 2009 @ 12:08pm

    Blood Alcohol

    The real problem with any breathalyzer is that, even though the machine gives a blood alcohol level, the machine does not actually measure alcohol in the blood.

    The guy should have a blood test device in his car, similar to a diabetic blood sugar testing device.

    (Hey, I think I just came up with a new invention. Can anyone here bring it to market?)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2009 @ 12:09pm

    Re:

    The ingredient which makes mints "cool" is menthol, which falls under the alcohol category of organic compounds. Could this have anything to do with it?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7.  
    identicon
    hegemon13, Jan 22nd, 2009 @ 12:28pm

    Re: Blood Alcohol

    Somehow, I think people might offer a bit more resistance to being compelled to prick themselves and bleed on a device before they can start their car. While it is unfortunate that breathalizers are not perfectly accurate, driving is a privelege, not a right. The ice cream/mints/etc problem is inconvenience that drivers may have to deal with as a result of the fact that they drove drunk in the first place.

    The car-installed breathalizer is not a convenience in the first place. I worked with a guy who had one, and he refused to eat anything within an hour of having to drive for fear of setting it off. Except Diet Coke. I guess that was safe.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8.  
    identicon
    asdf, Jan 22nd, 2009 @ 12:28pm

    Re: Blood Alcohol

    are you serious? You want someone to prick themselves everytime they turn on their car?

    I say improve the current device.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9.  
    identicon
    Not Quite Anonymous, Jan 22nd, 2009 @ 12:29pm

    Re: Re:

    Nope, is has everything to do with keytones. This is a big deal for diabetics and hypoglycemics because abnormal sugar levels lead to elevated keytone levels and kidney damage. It's possible that this guy was hypoglycemic, and that eating the sugary food elevated his keytones, thus making him "drunk" as far as the machine is concerned.

    This is a textbook case of where automated systems fail. The parameters are not sufficiently bound to generate the correct result. Hence, a human had to intervene. This is why police enforcement activities should be ultimately dependent on human decisions. Humans can account for the "out of bounds" parameters easily and make better decisions.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2009 @ 12:32pm

    Re: Re: Blood Alcohol

    Good deterent to drunk driving...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    5 Years ago, Jan 22nd, 2009 @ 12:39pm

    Ketones, eh?

    So would that mean that people on low carb diets, whose bodies are pumping out massive levels of ketones due to the metabolism of protein and fats, would register as drunk on these bitches?

    a whole new reason to have an Atkins bar lying on your passenger seat whenever pulled over, to set up your defense. Come to think of it, that may be the only reason to have an Atkins bar, nasty things that they are.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    James (profile), Jan 22nd, 2009 @ 12:40pm

    Re: Re:

    You are correct sir.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Jan 22nd, 2009 @ 12:48pm

    Re: Re: Blood Alcohol

    "driving is a privelege, not a right"

    Erm, be that as it may, driving is a necessity for many people in today's world.

    Should such a "privilege" be arbitrarily removed from innocent people causing them lose their jobs and livelihood?

    These devices aren't a problem when they work, but how many companies would accept "my car thought my breakfast was alcohol" as a reasonable excuse for not turning up for important meetings or being late regularly?

    "The ice cream/mints/etc problem is inconvenience that drivers may have to deal with as a result of the fact that they drove drunk in the first place."

    Really? What about if they become mandatory as proposed a number of times? Maybe fitted as standard in new cars or when you're "encouraged" to have them fit else you pay double one your insurance?

    Is that still OK? Or are you just one of those people who ignore problems until they personally affect you?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    Noah Body, Jan 22nd, 2009 @ 12:52pm

    Make them better, but deal with it for now.

    I agree. These devices need to use another test to look for specific alcohols. However for now, I feel that, since by any standard driving is not a right to anyone, it is reasonable to expect drivers who have been deemed too irresponsible due to prior convictions should have to deal with this “inconvenience” for their “inconvenience” on the judicial system for having to process their case and the possible “inconvenience” that some family could have faced had they killed someone when they were driving drunk. Just my thoughts…

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  15.  
    identicon
    neurostu, Jan 22nd, 2009 @ 12:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Blood Alcohol

    "Erm, be that as it may, driving is a necessity for many people in today's world.

    Should such a "privilege" be arbitrarily removed from innocent people causing them lose their jobs and livelihood?"

    Not to be a smart ass or anything but I would say that "living" is a requirement of many people today, given that drunk driver's frequently to deprive others of that right to live, I would rather deny 100% of people who drink the right to drive then a small percentage of people the right to live!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    icon
    Skeptical Cynic (profile), Jan 22nd, 2009 @ 1:00pm

    Re: Re: Blood Alcohol

    Although I agree with you about having to bleed to drive. Is driving really a privilege? And if it is why?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Jan 22nd, 2009 @ 1:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Blood Alcohol

    Wow, what a f***ing idiotic statement...

    First of all, being convicted of drunk driving doesn't actually mean that you were of any danger to anyone. There have been numerous cases where people have been convicted after sleeping in the back seat in a car park (technically drink driving in some states). The level of alcohol required for such a conviction in some states is actually below the level required to affect a person's ability to drive - meaning that any crash would not have been the result of alcohol.

    Then, what about all the cases where people who were not drunk have been involved in fatal crashes? Whatever MADD tells you, these still outnumber the cases where alcohol was involved (http://www.iihs.org/research/qanda/alcohol_general.html). The majority of accidents don't involve alcohol.

    They and other organisations are trying to get this woefully inadequate technology made mandatory for every driver. Meaning that this kind of technology is potentially going to affect every driver. Doesn't this strike you as problematic, or are you yet another of those "it doesn't affect me so I'll sleep till it does" people?

    People like you are the problem.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Xiera, Jan 22nd, 2009 @ 1:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Blood Alcohol

    Agreed.

    Maybe it's just where I live, but public transit is available as an alternative to driving and easily provides the argument that driving is not a "necessity" -- transportation is. "Arbitrarily removed" sounds like a judgment call. I would argue that a drunk driver having his privilege to drive removed is hardly arbitrary. We're not talking innocent people; we're talking people who put the lives of others in danger.

    Just because people don't have the mental capacity to consider the future consequences of their actions should not make them exempt from such consequences. If people decide to drink and drive, and the established law indicates that doing so will result in the revocation driving privileges, they should have to live with that result, even if it means they lose their jobs.

    The degree of backlash against having mandatory breathalyzers in cars would be incredible. Such a policy would be a major problem because it WOULD affect "innocent people" -- reference the over-used sledgehammer versus scalpel metaphor. The case in question, however, is a court mandate for an individual, presumably because he broke the law, not a blanket-approach solution for an entire population.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2009 @ 1:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Blood Alcohol

    Its just where you live.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2009 @ 1:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Blood Alcohol

    I think I need to clarify, because your level of cluelessness amazes me. There are places with no public transit. People live there.

    Also, stupid, old, unskilled, and unsafe drivers put lives in danger every time they get on the road. Overreaction to alcohol is missing the forest for a tree.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Jan 22nd, 2009 @ 1:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Blood Alcohol

    Where I live, it would take 2 1/2 hours, 2 buses and a train to get to work every day. A 5 hours round trip, if I'm lucky (it takes 45 mins each way in a car), and I don't live out in the sticks or anything like that... If I had a car like this and it malfunctioned, I might as well quit my job anyway. on a day where it wasn't working, I'd be a minimum of 3 hours late. What employer would tolerate that?

    As for the "mandatory" thing? Well, it would be passed through like so many things. First the guilty (convicted drink-drivers) are given them. Then it's expanded through back door measures (reductions on new cars with them installed, cheaper car insurance, etc.). A law immediately making it literally mandatory would be rejected, but people would probably jump at it like lemmings if it promised major savings, without considering how well it worked.

    By the way, I don't know how these things currently work for shared cars. Presumably if a wife needs to borrow her convicted husband's car, she'll have to go through the same tests. If so, it looks like innocents are already affected...

    "If people decide to drink and drive, and the established law indicates that doing so will result in the revocation driving privileges, they should have to live with that result, even if it means they lose their jobs."

    So ban them when they're convicted. Don't give them a supposed reprieve and allow them to try and prove their responsibility, only have their driving abilities removed because of some ice cream.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    James, Jan 22nd, 2009 @ 1:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Blood Alcohol

    It IS where that person lives. Public transport may be a real option in many large cities, but for many others a car is a real necessity of life. Anyone who says driving is a privilege is a moron.

    Drunk driving laws need to target hard-core repeat drunks who are the REAL dangers. Instead, we get bs from MADD and others hassling people and causing problems for those who casually drink; their goal, prohibition.

    I'm not concerned about someone having a drink and then driving, I'm concerned about someone getting DRUNK and driving and a its a huge distinction.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    303rick, Jan 22nd, 2009 @ 1:51pm

    blood alcohol

    Apparently there are a lot of people who advocate drunk driving on this board!0 tolerance is the only answer

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    identicon
    hegemon13, Jan 22nd, 2009 @ 1:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Blood Alcohol

    "Should such a "privilege" be arbitrarily removed from innocent people causing them lose their jobs and livelihood?"

    If they were sentenced by a court to have one installed, they were found decidedly guilty, not innocent.

    "What about if they become mandatory as proposed a number of times?"

    Proposed, perhaps. Seriously considered? No.

    And no, I absolutely would NOT be OK with it to be installed everywhere. I do not drink often, and I NEVER drive after drinking even one drink unless hours since my last drink/number of drinks > 1. In other words, if I had three drinks (my limit in one night), I wait at least three hours after my last drink to drive, or I have my wife, who doesn't drink at all, do the driving.

    I have never demonstrated a willingness to drive drunk (or even miniscually under the influence), nor (obviously) have I been prosecuted for it. Someone who has an in-car breathalizer installed as part of their sentencing for a DUI has done both, and the court has every right to take measures to curb such behavior in the future. They have no right to impose upon me a check against a crime I have never committed.

    "Or are you just one of those people who ignore problems until they personally affect you?"

    Absolutely not. I have no problem with improving the accuracy of breathalizers. However, these rare errors are not a reason to take them out of use for those who have committed a DUI. They knew when they committed the crime that the punishment was a possibility. If you want to get rid of them, I guess I don't have a problem with going back to a straight-up license suspension with an automatic prison sentence if they are found in violation of said suspension.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    hegemon13, Jan 22nd, 2009 @ 1:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Blood Alcohol

    Why? Because driving is inherently an extremely dangerous activity. If you are willing to put the lives of others in danger, then the privilege to operate such a dangerous machine should be removed.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Innocent Bystander, Jan 22nd, 2009 @ 2:02pm

    Calmer Car Karma vs. BlogRage

    I can see
    that people disagree
    what their responsibilities may be
    make your next drive drug free

    BTW: Thanks for the informative details on keytones
    I guess I should turn that radio down too.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  27.  
    identicon
    Boberano Bobers, Jan 22nd, 2009 @ 2:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Blood Alcohol

    Then turn off your D@#m& cellphone studies "Prove" that is as dangerous as driving drunk. Do you have the right to kill people because you want an inane conversation with your co-worker or spouse? Quit eating in the car and smoking. That kills people. Quit tuning your radio that kills people. Quit twittering when you drive, that kills people.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  28.  
    identicon
    Paul Brinker, Jan 22nd, 2009 @ 2:27pm

    Proof that this test dosent work

    To be compleatly honest, this test has been shown to not be 100% correct enough times now that it needs to not be allowed in court as "proof".

    I honestly thing this test could be reduced to a, "if you fail this test your geting your blood taken" situation because a blood test can be 99.9% while this test has many proven in court flaws (and lets not even talk about source code)

    While the idea of doing a blood test all the time to drive a car is laughable, if some company could come up with a test that uses the same prick methoid thats used to test blood sugar I think we would be in a much better situation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  29.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2009 @ 2:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Blood Alcohol

    Agreed 100%. Plus, driving while texting is worse than having a .08.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  30.  
    identicon
    Fushta, Jan 22nd, 2009 @ 2:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Blood Alcohol

    I don't begrudge MADD's over-reaction to drunk driving. For those mothers' who've lost loved ones, I'd feel the same way, even if it meant bending statistics to meet MADD's agenda.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  31.  
    identicon
    Cycle Rider, Jan 22nd, 2009 @ 2:42pm

    It measures Ketones??

    Interesting ... if memory serves me correctly, one of the side effects of the Atkins diet (low-car) induction phase is a degree of ketosis in the body. Does this mean that someone who is on the Atkins diet might fail a breathalyzer?

    That could pretty much invalidate a whole slew of tickets based on that technology, since it's not really a true measure of what it purports to test.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Jan 22nd, 2009 @ 2:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Blood Alcohol

    "If they were sentenced by a court to have one installed, they were found decidedly guilty, not innocent."

    ...and yet not guilty enough to have their licence suspended or removed. In other words, a malfunctioning machine is increasing the sentence past the court's decision (removal of ability to drive *only if* they tried to drive drunk). I know this varies from state to state, but are there really states fitting these machines where they'd previously just remove the licence? I hope not...

    "I have never demonstrated a willingness to drive drunk "

    Nor have some people who have been convicted of DUI. There are regular cases where people decide to sleep it off in their cars instead of driving home, often never leaving the car park, yet they get charged with DUI anyway. Not to mention the people like yourself who are careful not to drink while impaired, but get charged anyway because of a faulty breathalyser (thousands of cases in Houston were affected last year because a contractor faked maintenance records, for instance).

    You have to remember that DUIs don't just apply to people who were drunk. The required BAC in some states is low enough for a person's ability to not actually be impaired, but rather before the threshold where some intoxication might take place. This means that perfectly sober people might blow a positive despite not having drunk anywhere near the amount needed to be impaired or even having imbibed a totally innocent substance (as per the article or the proverbial mouthwash).

    "However, these rare errors are not a reason to take them out of use for those who have committed a DUI."

    How do you know that they're rare? Results successfully challenged in court might be rare, but you can be sure that most don't make it that far. I do certainly have a problem with a poorly-programmed machine being able to take away a person's rights at a whim, regardless of whether or not they were found guilty of a previous infraction.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Jan 22nd, 2009 @ 3:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Blood Alcohol

    Reactions like that are actually a big problem.

    Yes, losing a loved one to a drunk driver is horrible and nobody should ever have to go through it. But, there are literally hundreds of other factors that go into deaths on the road. Why is this one the only one that these people care about? Losing a family member to a driver whose car had bald tires or who was texting a friend at the time is equally horrible, but MADD don't seem to look at those issues...

    Besides, if you have to bend statistics to meet your agenda, obviously it's not the big agenda you think it is.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  34.  
    identicon
    ToySouljah, Jan 22nd, 2009 @ 5:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Blood Alcohol

    Yeah, in Texas if your keys are in the ignition and you are drunk then you are still charged with operating a motor vehicle under the influence...kind of stupid. I had a friend that had too much to drink and so sat in his car in the parking lot after the bar closed and was arrested for listening to his radio and about to sleep it off for a while. He thought that since he was "driving" that it didn't matter, but apparently the cops didn't see it that way. So even if you are being responsible and not risking injuring yourself or anyone else it is still a "crime" to try and sober up before actually getting on the road. Really sucked since he said he was going to walk home (a few blocks), but saw the cops and figured he'd get a ticket for PI (public intoxication)...I think that would have actually been better since his car at least wouldn't have been impounded...lol. We still joke about it though since it really was a stupid situation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
    identicon
    ToySouljah, Jan 22nd, 2009 @ 5:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Blood Alcohol

    woops...meant...since he "wasn't driving" lol :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2009 @ 6:44pm

    Re: It measures Ketones??

    Given all the interferences on a breathalyzer it should be insufficient to issue a fine. The breathalyzer should only be a screening step prior to a more accurate test like a blood test.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 22nd, 2009 @ 7:28pm

    Keytone cops

    I didn't even bother to read all the drivel here.
    Think I'll go have another drink

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
    identicon
    nifty, Jan 22nd, 2009 @ 7:29pm

    false positives

    I used to be a counselor at a halfway house administering breathalyzers to every other person who came back in from work for the night. You would not believe what can trigger false positives...I have seen licorice, pepperoni, mints, ice cream, flavored coffee, and a few other items you would never suspect not only cause a false positive from a zero initial reading but then linger for up to 20 minutes before zeroing out again. Initially I suspected the clients were covering for themselves by spiking their food...since they couldnt keep food in their rooms it was normal for them to come in with a snack. After repeatedly seeing this the staff decided to test these items bought by ourselves and tested by ourselves on the equipment. Ends up there is a good reason the police ensure the people in custody dont drink or eat anything for several minutes prior to a BA, but I never saw a reading high enough to indicate a DUI or even DWAI level...quite often it was 1/10th or 1/20th that level. These devices need to have a higher than .009 BAC tolerance set in my opinion after all we are talking about drunks who will sooner or later goof big time.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  39.  
    identicon
    Andrew D. Todd, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 4:42am

    Reflex Tester.

    What makes much more sense than any kind of chemical tester is a reflex tester, an electronic device which presents a stimulus, and measures the driver's response to that stimulus. This is not a new invention, incidentally. It has been in experimental use for at least twenty or thirty years. Of course, one could refine the system, for example, by building sensors into the controls which measure the driver's ability to respond to changed conditions. Sudden increasing oscillations of, say, the steering wheel would be an indication of positive feedback, and thus, that the driver was not altogether in control of the automobile. This information should be intercoupled with things like radar sensors. The speed the automobile is willing to go should depend on the driver's performance. In all but the most extreme cases, you would be able to get where you were going, only at a reduced speed.

    Of course, there are other causes of impairment than alcohol. I understand that in military aviation, pilots are strongly warned not to skip breakfast before flying, because it will have a small, but perceptible effect on their efficiency. Flying near the edge as military pilots do, the difference might well be fatal. Likewise, a head cold can mess up the reflexes. And all kinds of patent medicines carry warning labels.

    I am a nondriver, myself. I was too excited about mathematics at the age of sixteen to have time for learning to drive, and if you don't do it then, it won't take. I don't want to get judgmental, and all, even if some people on this blog seem to be talking as if they had the DT's. Taxicabs aren't that expensive, compared to the cost of owning an automobile. In places where there are well-developed commuter railroads, train stations will usually have cab ranks. Naturally, for commuting, it might be desirable to have a standing arrangement with a particular driver, rather than taking the luck of the draw. This also has the advantage for workplace snobbery that when other people begin boasting about their expensive cars, you can start talking about your driver, and which part of the Khyber Pass he comes from. "Now in Injia's sunny clime/ Where I used to spend my time..."

    http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Gunga_Din

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  40.  
    identicon
    BTR1701, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 7:15am

    Re: Re: Blood Alcohol

    > driving is a privelege, not a right

    Yes, that's the self-serving government position on the issue. Very convenient for them, too. All government has to do is define a freedom as a "privilege" and suddenly they can revoke or restrict it at their whim.

    In reality, the mere fact that we are compelled through force of law to pay for the roads and other driving-related infrastructure, gives rise to a right to use that for which we have paid. Whether the government recognizes that right or not, it does indeed exist.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  41.  
    identicon
    BTR1701, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 7:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Blood Alcohol

    > Maybe it's just where I live, but public
    > transit is available as an alternative to
    > driving and easily provides the argument
    > that driving is not a "necessity" --
    > transportation is.

    Try catching a commuter bus to work on a rural Wyoming farm road and then tell me how available public transit is.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  42.  
    identicon
    a walking citizen, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 8:00am

    FALSE

    Breathalyzers work by detecting the alcohol that gets into your lungs by seeping through the flap that is in your throat that covers you lungs. Biproducts of alcohol left over from the liver's processing goes directly to the kidneys.

    That said there are plenty of radicals that appear that the machine will include in it's counts of alcohol particles because they have similar signature.

    The problem here is that the device doesn't measure blood alcohol content, never has measured blood alcohol content, only measures BREATH alcohol content, and I'd be fine with that in the law, but that's not the case. There's a thirty percent variation between the correlation of breath alcohol content and blood alcohol content from person to person.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    PixelPusher220, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 10:11am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Blood Alcohol

    The reason for being so hyper about it is this. Which is more dangerous, an unloaded gun, or a loaded gun? Neither by itself is a problem, but one is a *lot* more likely to cause injury.

    A drunk in a car, driving or not, is only a small distance away from being a big problem.

    The cops will be quite a bit more understanding if you are lying down in the back seat with the car running. or if it's warm enough, put the keys in the trunk, etc. You can't drive from the backseat or with the keys in the trunk. It gives the cops a good indication of your intentions and they likely just let you slide.

    And I know from experience, did this in college, sleeping in the car drunk with it running and the cop just took my keys and said 'walk home'. Picked up the keys the next day, no harm no foul. Though I found out the next day he had deflated my tires, just to make sure I didn't come back with another set of keys...lol

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
    identicon
    PixelPusher220, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 10:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Blood Alcohol

    "Why is this one the only one that these people care about?"

    Maybe because this one is far and away one of the most preventable causes of accidents?


    Driver distraction is obviously also preventable, but its also something that goes away instantly when focus comes back, you can't sober up to react to things. Vehicle maintenance issues don't come close to causing the number of accidents drunk driving causes.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    PixelPusher220, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 10:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Blood Alcohol

    Studies also fail to mention one very important fact:

    A person talking on the cell phone, texting, eating, etc... has the ability to be 100% attentive at any moment.

    A drunk can't sober up.

    *Initial* reaction times are similar to drunks, but after that they respond much much better.

    Not a complete defense of distracted driving mind you, but there are factors that mitigate *some* of the dangers.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    PixelPusher220, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 10:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Blood Alcohol

    "and yet not guilty enough to have their licence suspended or removed"

    Actually yes they are suspended/revoked. They are granted 'restricted' privileges to get to work or get basic necessities. And going for 'ice cream' in this case would not be allowed. Any use other than to the approved destinations is illegal and they will be charged with driving while suspended/revoked if caught.

    Once the sentence is up and their full license is restored the devices are removed from the vehicles. Repeated offenders can have them permanently placed in the vehicles due their obvious ignoring of the law.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    PixelPusher220, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 10:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Blood Alcohol

    As many have posted here, there are a few places where driving is required. But far and away, people *choose* to live where they do need a car to get around.

    Driving is not a right. If you think it is, please point me to it in the constitution or other legal definition of it. Seriously, if it's a 'right', it's in there.

    As for being 'compelled' to pay for roads, puhlease. If you don't like the laws, you are more than free to present your case to your State and US Representatives/Senators to have the laws changed. The general consensus is that we need roads, and someone has to pay for them, why not people who use them? Much of the funding comes from gas taxes, but some does come from general tax funds. Guess what, even people who don't drive use the roads; i.e. buses, taxis, trucks making deliveries.

    The overall community makes decisions for everybody...get over it. Checks and balances exist to prevent 'mob rule' but a democracy/republic means that everyone falls under the basic set of rules.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 12:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Blood Alcohol

    texting, phone, calls, makeup, changing the radio,yes you can respond faster after but by then it is usually to late

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    BTR1701, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 12:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Blood Alcohol

    > As many have posted here, there are a few
    > places where driving is required.

    The distinction between freedoms/rights and privileges is not dependent on necessity.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
    identicon
    BTR1701, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 12:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Blood Alcohol

    > If you don't like the laws, you are more than
    > free to present your case to your State and US
    > Representatives/Senators to have the laws changed.

    I never said I didn't like the laws. I merely said that if the government compels the citizenry to pay for public infrastructure, it gives rise to a right among the citizenry to use that for which they have paid.

    > The overall community makes decisions for
    > everybody...get over it.

    You're not even being coherent. You seem to be arguing against a point that no one-- certainly not me-- has made.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
    identicon
    ranon, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 12:54pm

    Which ice creams?

    Is there a list of ice creams and other food items that cause false positives on a breathalyser test.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  52.  
    identicon
    BTR1701, Jan 23rd, 2009 @ 12:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Blood Alcohol

    > A drunk in a car, driving or not, is only
    > a small distance away from being a big problem.

    That's some lovely logic you've got there.

    Let's examine it and extrapolate it out to its ultimate conclusion. Why not charge people with drunk driving for even being close to a vehicle? That way you can get them while they're still in the bar. Or even in their home.

    Police respond to a loud noise complaint at a residence, find some intoxicated people in the house and a car in the garage less than 20 feet away. Keys are on the kitchen counter. According to you, those drunks are a small distance away from being a big problem. So they should all be arrested and charged with DUIs, even though they are sitting on the sofa playing XBox. Right?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  53.  
    identicon
    erasmo nuzzi jr, Jan 24th, 2009 @ 12:20am

    alcohol testers

    There are some products that will trigger a DUI level:
    Mouthwash
    Chocolate Truffles
    Any chocolate with liquor on it
    Some bubble gums
    Cough Syrup
    Be sure if you ingest these substance to brush your teeth thoughrouly before driving or you are in for a nasty surprise.
    The best thing is to have a breathlizer wth and check yourself.
    Leave it in plain view with the last reading , this usualy scare cops away

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  54.  
    identicon
    Rose M. Welch, Jan 24th, 2009 @ 9:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Blood Alcohol

    Well, lucky you. Mass transit is a joke in my area, just as it is in many other areas. In today's society, you can say that driving is a privilege, anymore than you can say that doing business with a utility company is a privilege.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  55.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 24th, 2009 @ 11:28am

    Law Enforcement has what is called Baker's Rule, when you get put under observation for 20 minutes, and you cannot eat, drink, burp, or vomit for that amount of time. This gives your mouth the chance to clear out any residual mouth alcohol and provides an accurate BrAC reading.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  56.  
    identicon
    Brian Woods, Jan 24th, 2009 @ 12:00pm

    Bubble O Bills

    An Aussie radio show had a guy eat 15 of the Bubble O Bills and blew a zero on two different breathalizers...the only way to suggest he was drunk was he liked hearing "Tubthumping."

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  57.  
    identicon
    Concerned Friend, Jan 29th, 2009 @ 11:49am

    DWI

    I had a friend who got a DWI and is on the atkins diet who is I believe a borderline diabetic. I was with him that night and he literally had 2 drinks in a matter of two to three hours. He is also 6'4" and 210lbs. He was administered the breath test and failed though it was quite clear he passed the feild sobriety test. Just looking for input on the situation and if any of this would help in court and DMV issues. I believe he would have passed this test if he wasn't on this diet as well as his medical history. I also was able to read the police report which was inaccurate as to what happened that night.

    Thank you

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  58.  
    identicon
    JimmyD, Feb 5th, 2009 @ 9:25pm

    breathalyzer

    i just tried this on my breathalyzer from alcometers.com and it reads .00 every time. I have the alcomate premium model so i think i'm good. crossing my fingers!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  59.  
    identicon
    sue ann, Feb 7th, 2009 @ 2:39pm

    breathilizer thingy

    that's really weird...i love ice cream

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  60.  
    identicon
    (also an anonymous coward), Feb 7th, 2009 @ 2:43pm

    Re:

    Where did you learn that? It's interesting but it seems like an inefficient way to measure. I'm surprised.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  61.  
    identicon
    looking for answers, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 10:31am

    False Positive BAC

    This is a true problem! It is not just icecream if a patient is lactose intolerant or diabetic they will get a false positive. I am currently looking for any and all information on this issue. I am involved in a legal battle were I need to find evidence to back up my claim. If, anyone knows of Doctors or patients with this issue I would love to speak to them.
    Also, DWI friend... find a Lawyer and get test done to see is you can beat the case before it is to late. There are many chemical components that will alter the BAC and give a false positive!!!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  62.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 6th, 2009 @ 10:41am

    Re: DWI

    Hi there I found this website in my search maybe this will help you http://www2.potsdam.edu/hansondj/AboutYourHost.html

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  63.  
    identicon
    Tat, Aug 20th, 2009 @ 1:50pm

    False Positives

    I've heard of many reasons for false positives:

    Diabetes
    Gum disease
    Acid reflux
    Mints
    Mouthwash
    Body temperature (if you have a fever)
    Dentures

    And yes, I've heard that the officer is supposedly required to observe you for at least 15-20 prior to breathalyzer since belching or vomiting can cause a false positive, since it DOES take the readings from the mouth, not the blood.

    Um. Why would you lock your keys in the trunk? How do you get them out when you wake up? Hmmmmm...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  64.  
    identicon
    Karen Langerak, Jan 12th, 2010 @ 10:51am

    Re: FALSE

    This is good info! Please tell me the reference for this so that I can argue it in court, since I received a false positive via a breathalizer.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  65.  
    identicon
    Karen Langerak, Jan 12th, 2010 @ 10:56am

    Re: Lucretious & tobacco

    Please provide a reference as to where the info on tobacco raising ba levels, as I need that for my defense. Thanks
    Karen

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  66.  
    identicon
    KKA, Mar 20th, 2010 @ 9:09am

    Re: Re: Lucretious & tobacco

    Karen,
    there are many places on the internet you can find that support the false reading defense. Just Google "tabacco and false breathalyzer readings".
    I hope you have an attorney to help you.
    My friend received what we believe to be a false reading and although her attorney thought she could fight it and win in court, she did not have the 5000. to pay her to do so. She took a plea in Sept and they installed an interlock device on her car and it has now given her a false reading of .03 (she is ordered NO alcohol) and her probation officer is making a huge fuss over the .03 and threatening to take her back to court and have her probation revoked and her put in jail for 120 days for probation violation. She has not had a drink of alcohol since Sept of 09. Its crazy how much they rely on this machine knowing how inaccurate it can be.
    As much as I hate blood test if ever stopped for suspicion of DWI, knowing I have not consumed alcohol I would refuse breath test and demand a blood test instead. Good luck with your situation.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  67.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2013 @ 4:21pm

    Response to: John Duncan Yoyo on Jan 22nd, 2009 @ 11:56am

    Really?? See its ppl like you that swear they have this amazing idea that leads to these kinda stupid things. Ppl like you say "hey I've a way to figure if they are drunk with this machine!" And some other donkey who thinks in the same manner, and has the power to do so, puts it into affect and makes it law. COMPLETELY disregarding the fact that it isn't actually acurate......ever stop to wonder if his original charge was caused by a false reading? That he may have eatin something or worse had diabetes and the "almighty machine" said he was drunk when infact he wasn't?? Causeing him to receive some very hefty charges and to have to continue living everyday with this hair brained plague?? I understand there are alota drunk drivers needing to be stopped and I'm fully on board with it...only if we can atleast use common sense while doing so. Otherwise we might as well all be drunk :-)!!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  68.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2013 @ 4:33pm

    Re: Re: Blood Alcohol

    If driving is a privelege why don't we take the right away from everyone for a year and see how much production goes on in the world? See how many ppl can get to work on public transportation:-)..that'd be a good one. Oo or better yet how fast things are sent from one place to the next..it fits it ships doesn't exactly work on the internet. And let's be honest there is nothing enjoyable about driving most anywhere anymore. The roads are shit, causeing rapid ware and tare which causes more over priced expenses when repairing the vehicle. The police are armed with so many laws they can stick to you while driving THEY don't even know em all, so there's always the worry of tickets. Oooo and don't forget since the "click it or stick it" law went into effect whiplash went up like crazy in fender benders where normally there would be no injuries. So? You say well it also caused the insureance rates to go up since the companies are now haveing to pay on almost all cases now.. privelege HA! Take it away I dare ya:-)see how happy ppl are not have to commit to a daily routine of slavery leaving them time with family. Also take notice to how the states income would fall dramaticly

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  69.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 4th, 2013 @ 4:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Blood Alcohol

    Thank God! Good to see some sense around here. Good show ol mate!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  70.  
    identicon
    just saying, Dec 9th, 2013 @ 1:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Blood Alcohol

    Um i ave not yet been convicted or even gone to court despite my presumed innocense until proven guilty i was required to have an ignition interlock device installed in my vehicle as required by pre trial services it has been over 9 months since incident 9 months with this device and i have not yet been convicted

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This