Driving Stoned or Drunk is Stupid, but is an "Alco-Buddy Test" enough ? asks Ashburn drunk driving crash victim lawyer Doug Landau

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Prosecuting drunk and stoned drivers in both criminal and civil courts, injured victims' lawyer Doug Landau was interested in the "Alco-Buddy" breathalizer machine found in a restaurant near the Virginia State Capitol.
Prosecuting drunk and stoned drivers in both criminal and civil courts, injured victims' lawyer Doug Landau was interested in the "Alco-Buddy" breathalizer machine found in a restaurant near the Virginia State Capitol.

This one’s obvious. But as an injury lawyer who sees firsthand the devastating effects of drunk driving car crashes, bike wrecks and truck accidents, I was pleased to see a device at a Richmond restaurant recently. The “Alco-Buddy ” is an alcohol breathalyzer vending machine, installed in establishments that serve alcohol.

Drunk driving is a real and present danger that affects everyone. All too often people leave establishments after drinking “just a few drinks” and falsely believe that they are safe to drive when they are, in fact, legally intoxicated. Alco-Buddy provides patrons with access to an ALCOHOL BREATHALYZER TEST, allowing them to gauge their own B.A.C. (blood alcohol content) before they ever get behind the wheel.

Advantages of a “Breathalyzer Machine”:

* Is an intelligent, simple and discreet way to check your B.A.C. (blood alcohol content)
before venturing out on the roads.
* May reduce the number of impaired or intoxicated people driving.
* Assists educate patrons to moderate and appropriately pace their drinking.
* Sets the tone and shows that the establishment cares about their customers.

As a former prosecutor in the Florida State’s Attorney’s Office, I thought the last point was interesting. I had several questions in my own mind after seeing this machine: Does anyone really know when they are impaired ? Would the results from this machine be a valid defense if the patron is later arrested on a DUI or DWI charge ? What if the customer blows into the machine before the alcohol has gotten into her system, and their B.A.C. is on the way up on the way to the car ? What is the margin of error ?

4 responses on “Driving Stoned or Drunk is Stupid, but is an "Alco-Buddy Test" enough ? asks Ashburn drunk driving crash victim lawyer Doug Landau

  1. Randy

    I have the same question concerning what happens if the machine reads wrong. Is the disclaimer on the front of the machine enough not to get a law suite on your hands.

    1. Doug

      The machine can only measure the blood alcohol content (or more precisely, the alcohol in the breath sample) at the TIME OF THE SAMPLE. So, if alcohol is continuing to be absoerbed into the drinker’s system, their tests results (either blood sample or by breathalizer) may be higher than that recorded at an earlier time in the restaurant or bar.

  2. Randy

    I have the same question concerning what happens if the machine reads wrong. Is the disclaimer on the front of the machine enough not to get a law suite on your hands.

    1. Doug

      The machine can only measure the blood alcohol content (or more precisely, the alcohol in the breath sample) at the TIME OF THE SAMPLE. So, if alcohol is continuing to be absoerbed into the drinker’s system, their tests results (either blood sample or by breathalizer) may be higher than that recorded at an earlier time in the restaurant or bar.

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