East Texans don't encourage personal breathalyzer

By Holley Nees - email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - It's a blood alcohol detector that claims to measure your alcohol level in seconds and it's available at local retail stores.

"I think it's probably a good idea so you can kind of of see where you're at, whether you need to chance being out driving or not," Dan Stro said.

But, even though the package claims it's for entertainment purposes only, law enforcement worries drivers will get the wrong idea.

"Anytime we try to guess how many drinks we've had or use some other type of device measuring your alcohol content, which people have to remember these are not certified instruments or anything, then you're taking a chance," DPS Trooper Greg Sanches said.

One detector reveals if the subject is ready to drive or if their alcohol level is at .05 or .08. The problem is, Sanches says you don't have to be at .08 to be charged with a DWI. Law enforcement just has to prove you're impaired.

"We know medically, at .04 a person starts becoming impaired, and what we're talking about is judgement, reaction, and coordination skills are affected," Sanches said.

Some East Texans had mixed emotions what the key chain might represent.

"They are probably targeting a young age and those who are risk-takers and who feel like that they can blow this breathalyzer and then they'll have some idea of what to do," said Phyllis Grandgeorge, executive director of the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Council of Deep East Texas.

"I think it's a good idea that way people can know if they can drive or not," Juan Sarmiento said. "If they are over the limit, then they don't drive."

"Personally I think it will encourage them to drive drunk," A.J. Hackett said.

Sanches says if it's not the blood alcohol content charts, it's this new alcohol tester.

"It's nothing new, we've dealt with this in the past and that's why we keep preaching the same message and that is don't drink and drive," Sanches said.

Whether it encourages people to know their limits, or just push them, Sanches says if you've been drinking at all, it's always better to not get behind the wheel.

The Novelty Alcohol Breath Tester is available at Bed, Bath and Beyond in Lufkin for $14.95. It has not been approved by the FDA or the Department of Transportation.

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