Certain foods may trick law enforcement breathalyzers


What do Honey Buns and beer have in common? Myths claim they can both trigger a positive reading on a breathalyzer if you’re pulled over for a DWI.

“These devices are inherently unreliable,” DWI Attorney James McGee claimed.”They also can pick up different things that mimic alcohol as being ethanol.”

Myths suggest that white bread, Honey Buns, and Mountain Dew can create a false reading, but we wanted to find out for ourselves.

“White bread has actually effected the handheld FST device that we use here in North Carolina,” McGee said just before he took a bite of a slice of Sunbeam white bread.

Before munching down on the bread, McGee blew into the ALCO-SENSOR FST breath alcohol screening device approved by the State of North Carolina for law enforcement. The result showed zero alcohol in his system, but after eating the slice, he blew a .018 on the device.

WECT’s reporter Emily DeVoe received a similar outcome after devouring a Honey Bun, earning her a score of .015, having not consumed any alcohol prior.

A third volunteer sipped a Mountain Dew before taking the breathalyzer test, but his score remained at zero and that myth was debunked.
Even though the bread and Honey Bun turned out false readings, the results were still below the North Carolina legal limit of .08 for someone over the age of 21.

However, McGee said if you drink a beer or other alcoholic beverage minutes before getting in the car, an alcohol screening device could pick up on concentrated traces of alcohol still in your mouth.

To prove his point, McGee took a large sip of Bud Lite and immediately blew a .167, nearly double the legal limit to drive.

North Carolina statutes instruct officers that “unless the driver volunteers the information that he/she has consumed an alcoholic beverage within the previous 15 minutes, the officer shall administer a screening test as soon as possible.”

McGee advised that even if you only drank one alcoholic beverage before leaving a restaurant, wait several minutes before immediately getting behind the wheel.

McGee also noted that the numerical results from a field breathalyzer test can not be used in Federal Court; only a positive or negative result is admitted as a screening.

WECT reached out to several law enforcement agencies, but no one was available before the deadline of this broadcast.


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