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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Breathalyzer May Be Required in Michigan Bars

There is a bill pending in the Michigan Senate which, if passed, will require bars and restaurants that serve alcoholic beverages to make self-operated breathalyzers available to patrons.  The bill, sponsored by Senator Bert Johnson of Highland Park, was submitted to the Senate Committee on Regulatory Reform on June 1, 2011.

Presumably, the legislative wisdom associated with such a law would be to provide bar patrons with some immediate feedback relative to their blood alcohol level.  There is a large body of published analysis, however, impugning the accuracy of these devices.  For example, if any alcohol or a variety of other agents are present in your breath sample, the results will be distorted.

One advantage of this law is that if patrons discovery they are "Super Drunk", with a blood alcohol in excess of .17, they would presumably not risk the enhanced penalties by venturing onto the roadways.

In a court of law, the preliminary breath test (PBT) results generated from such devices are not deemed admissible in court.  Like field sobriety test results, the PBT can generally only be used to demonstrate whether there was probable cause to support a drunk driving arrest.

These machines cost anywhere from $250 to $950.  Every bar, restaurant, or entertainment venue will have to purshase a series of these devices.  Resources will be devoted to operating and maintaining the breathalyzers by the waitstaff at each speakeasy.  Liability steming from this legislative requirement will result in lawsuits.

On the other hand, the more awareness that is raised about drinking and driving, the better.  The question is whether the costs imposed on restauranteurs, then passed on to patrons, is worth it.

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Blogger stephen smith said...

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Michigan breathalyzer

November 15, 2011 at 9:05 AM 
Blogger allric johnson said...

In Michigan, the Supreme Court ruled that the potential benefit to society of removing impaired drivers from the roads justified the violation of Fourth Amendment rights caused by checkpoints.

where to buy a Breathalyzer

September 4, 2012 at 7:30 AM 

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