Maybe you’re not familiar with the ins and outs of DWI. You’re in luck – like that badass 7th grader who cut class to smoke cigarettes behind the gym, we’ve got answers to your burning questions. (Ours may not be as useful, and – thanks, lawyers! – we can’t offer to sell you weed that we pinched from our stepdad, but whatever.) Our Labor Day gift to you: three DWI myths debunked.
1. Caught driving and drinkin’? Suck on Lincoln!
You may have heard that a mouthful of pennies is a quick and easy to beat a breath test. (Certainly easier than not getting hammered.) Not true: there are no scientific studies or remotely credible evidence to suggest the makeup of a penny will interfere with a Breathalyzer. We’re going to have to downgrade this strategy from “worth a shot” to “great way to embarrass yourself.” Still, it’s better than eating shit.
2. If you’re not drunk, you can always trust a breath test
In most cases this is probably true, but people who really love fruit need to be careful. The body produces alcohol naturally after fruit is consumed. According to one study, consuming one kilogram (2.2 pounds) of apples produces the same amount of methanol in the breath as ten shots of brandy. Maybe you’ve never felt compelled to eat a pound or two of apples; just keep this in mind if you decide to follow up that appletini with a couple of Granny Smiths.
And watch out if you’re diabetic and suffering from hypoglycemia. The slurred speech and disorientation that can result from being in such a state is certain to arouse the suspicion of law enforcement should you be pulled over. God’s cruel tricks continue: Hypoglycemia can lead to ketoacidosis, which causes the body to produce acetone. Acetone can register as alcohol during a breath test. At least you can be sure you’ll get top-notch medical care if you go into a diabetic coma in the drunk tank.
3. If you’re not drunk, you can always trust a field sobriety test
Wrong again, Captain Gullible. A 1994 Clemson University study tested the ability of 14 South Carolina cops with an average of 11.7 years of experience to determine based on field tests whether or not motorists were fit to drive. The catch: all 21 motorists who participated in the study were as sober as judges who have to spend Labor Day weekend issuing blood-sample warrants. The glorious results: 46 percent of the drivers were found to have had “too much to drink” based on field sobriety tests.
Happy Labor Day.
-- Blake Whitaker