Breathalyzers come to Square in Oxford

(WMC-TV) – Bar patrons in Oxford can use breathalyzers to see how much they've had to drink, but police say before patrons get behind the wheel there's something they should know.

With the swipe of a card or just a few dollars, the machines aim to let customers know when they've had too much to drink.

Bar patrons blow into the machine for the 3 to 5 seconds to get their reading, said Seth Kellum.

While many people feel the machines will get people's attention, others aren't sure people will believe them.

"I feel like you can take it somewhat seriously, but you definitely can't rely on it," said Bradley Carver.

However, others said that the machines would make them think twice.

One man said me that he had two drinks and believed he was under the legal limit. However, when he took the test his BAC registered a .12.

Ryan Walden came up with the idea for his company, Intox-Box, in college.

"We have speedometers to help us obey the speed limits, but yet we're expected to obey the drinking and driving laws without access to an accurate breathalyzer," Walden said.

Walden said his machines are calibrated once a month and should give an accurate reading.

However, Oxford Police Chief Mike Martin warns that the results are far from official and aren't approved by the state.

"You should not put your faith in a breathalyzer inside a bar to determine if you should drive a vehicle or not," Martin said.

The device warns to wait several minutes after drinking and can be prone to user error if instructions are not followed.

But the machine can also be a game, if that's what users want. An interactive feature allows users to try and guess their alcohol level for a chance at a free turn.

Game or not, bar owners and police agree that it's not official, but it may keep late-nighters from pulling out their car keys.

Even though Martin can't vouch for the accuracy of the test results, he said the gadget could raise awareness.

"If you keep one person from driving a vehicle then you've accomplished something, I guess," Martin said.

Walden said his machine would soon offer a button to call for a taxi.

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