By on November 29, 2016

breathalyzer DUI (KOMUnews/Flickr)

Thanksgiving is past and the coming month promises plenty of opportunities for socially acceptable, clove-scented boozing. Some beverages placed in hand — egg nog, for example — can easily pack enough liquor to make a sailor’s eyes water, while the drinker remains unaware of the serving size.

No problem, you say. You’ve bought a civilian breathalyzer, or perhaps the bar you’re at provides one. Got it all covered. Once that device delivers the green light, bam — it’s motoring time! Any police impaired driving checkpoint you encounter should pass your sober ass with flying colors, right?

So wrong. The majority of breathalyzers tested in a recent study failed miserably.

The study, conducted by our French friends north of New England, found that six out of ten of the most common non-police breathalyzers failed to return accurate results, and discovered flaws with the remaining four.

Consumer publication Protégez-Vous and the CAA-Quebec Foundation (Quebec’s version of AAA) couldn’t recommend any of the 10 models. In vetting the devices, the groups employed toxicologists from the Quebec Public Security Ministry, each armed with an official law enforcement-issued breathalyzer. Official results were then compared with those from off-the-shelf devices at three different levels of impairment (120 mg of alcohol per 100 ml of blood (0.12), 80 mg/100 ml (0.08) and 50 mg/100 ml (0.05).

The Digital Breath Alcohol Tester, sold north and south of the border by Groupon and Tuango, proved very inaccurate. A third of the time, results were off by 30 percent.

Of the four mobile breathalyzers that came close to official results, one was a standout winner: the BACtrack BT-M5, which sends the results to your iPhone or Android device. That model retails for $140 (CAD). Still, it can’t be recommended, as such devices need to be calibrated by the manufacturer before first use, and every year thereafter. That’s a roughly $50 expense each time.

In an embarrassing turn, the single-use breathalyzer sold by the province’s government-controlled liquor retailer was judged to be “useless.” Whoops.

When asked about the pointless piece of kit, Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ) spokesperson Linda Bouchard Linda Bouchard “didn’t seem overly concerned.” She claimed that the tool, while useless, promoted awareness about responsible alcohol consumption, providing a perfect example of why spokespeople warrant large salaries.

[Image: KOMUnews/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)]

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51 Comments on “That Breathalyzer You Bought Online Won’t Save Your License: Study...”

  • avatar

    There’s a very simple solution:

    If you are planning to drive, don’t drink any alcohol. I know that this is a simplistic answer, but it is the one thing that is completely free from ambiguity.

    A number of years ago, I struck a pedestrian (a glancing strike, he was unharmed) who was, stupidly, crossing a busy parkway, at night rather than using the bridge a hundred yards away. When sitting with the police who were making out the report, the officer turned to me and said, “I have to ask this question: have you been drinking?”. Since I hadn’t, my reply was quick and honest and he accepted it. I was absolved of all blame. That experience stuck with me. You never know when you are going to have to answer that question, so be prepared.

    • 0 avatar


      Given the unreliability of the tech (I mean, do we trust that every breathalyzer out there in use by every police department has been properly calibrated regularly as required, and that anyone would even notice if it was not?), and given the penalties for being intoxicated, and the difficulty in *disproving* the result, your best bet is to not drink at all if you intend to drive. Take a Cab/Uber/Friend/whatever.

      • 0 avatar

        Yeah… not really the same thing as a radar gun (and not the same consequences as a speeding conviction).

        And radar guns, contrary to the free advice from random strangers, don’t really go out of calibration…

      • 0 avatar

        I dunno, if your only reason for not doing something is the legal penalty, you might have missed something.

        How about not doing it because there’s a significantly greater chance that you’ll kill somebody to death?

        • 0 avatar

          A lot of politics around DUI statistics and it’s not all simple black and white. Why do you think different jurisdictions have different standards?

        • 0 avatar

          Sure, that’s a given. but if you’ve only had a small amount of alcohol but the machine could still decide you’re in violation, then that *is* an issue.

          Studies are all over the place about the effects of alcohol (and, many other legal drugs like OTC cough medicine and the like) affecting response time when driving. About the only thing there *is* consensus on is that the “legal limit” used today really isn’t very good at detecting how affected you are – but it makes sense that the more you drink, the more you are affected, so it offers at least some deterrent to drinking too much.

          So, my original statement still stands – don’t drive. I myself *never* drive if I’ve consumed *any* alcohol for the very reason that it affects everyone differently.

          Whether you do it to be “safe” or do it to avoid some harsh penalties, the remedy is the same.

          • 0 avatar

            It is that simple. If you drink, don’t drive.

            BC tightened up the laws with automatic 3 day roadside suspension and impound along with fines for BAC 0.08 – 0.05. Anything higher than 0.08 and things get even more nasty. The Federal Criminal Code is 0.08 but the new 0.05 has stood up in court.

            A 200 lb male can have 2 drinks and be around the .05 mark.

          • 0 avatar
            Felix Hoenikker

            According to my handy dandy Sate of New Jersey Safe Driving Academy reference card, a 220 lb male (me) will have no more than a 0.07% BAC after four drinks.
            I never drink and drive because I believe that the present DUI system in PA is corrupt and mainly set up to generate revenue for lawyers and law enforcement. Too many incentives and not enough safeguards to make money on the guy who had one or two drinks. I do understand that there are drunks out there that kill people because of their addiction. When I read about these cases in the local paper, the usual BAC that they record after the accident is something like 0.22% or higher.
            At the end of the day, blood alcohol levels are a very crude indicator impairment, but are easily measured with the right equipment so we are stuck with them.
            About 10 years ago, I had an encounter with two lesbian cops (not that there’s anything wrong with that) in Jacksonville FL about two in the morning when I got lost and missed the exit for my hotel. I was in this situation because of a long delay on my flight and had not had anything to drink in days. I turned around several miles at the next exit on I95 and made an illegal U turn (I didn’t see any signs to the contrary). The next thing I saw was the lights and flashers in my rearview. After pulling over, the manly cop asked me why I made the U turn to which I replied that it was between me and the rental car company. That got me a field sobriety test. The second officer stood back and giggled during this. I wanted to tell them that I would overlook their over enthusiasm and that they could go back to their car and make out, but I knew such an honest assessment would not be appreciated. It got funnier all the time. After passing the nose touching and walking the line test, I had to stoop down (they were quite short) so they could check my pupils with a pen light. By this time I was biting the insides of my cheeks to keep from laughing. One of the officers also seemed to think that my flip phone in a holder on my belt was an insulin pump. So after about 10 minutes of this LE theater, I was pronounced good to go, and we gathered with my map on the hood of the car where they showed me how to get back to the exit for my hotel. So at least I got some directions out of this because being a male I would have never asked for directions.

          • 0 avatar

            My personal experience as a fit 200 lb male:

            5 beers in 3 hours: .024
            3 beers in 5 hours: .008
            8 beers in 5 hours: .046

            Time begins when I finish my first drink. I base my decisions on a 0.08 capacity of five beers and a metabolic rate of one beer an hour.

          • 0 avatar

            @rpn453, are those figures for Oklahoma “beer” or real beer? I think ya missed a decimal place or something. 8 beers in 5 hours and under the legal limit?

          • 0 avatar

            5% alcohol Canadian beer. 341 ml bottle or 355 ml can. Equal to 1.5 oz. of 80 proof alcohol. I measure and track all my drinks.

            The numbers were right around where the charts I was shown in driver’s ed. said they should be.

          • 0 avatar

            It really gives perspective on the level of consumption necessary to become one of the high-BAC drunks who do all the damage.

        • 0 avatar

          ” dunno, if your only reason for not doing something is the legal penalty, you might have missed something.”

          I didn’t say that. And, it kind of goes without saying that not killing people as a result of drunken driving is an automatic benefit of this approach. having said that, the OP was about the inaccuracy of Breathalyzers, not the wisdom of preventing drunken driving. I was staying on-topic, not reaching for moral conclusions based upon insufficient information.

          But, since you implied, the primary impetus is safety. My idiot nephew wrapped his truck around a tree on the way home from a bar (luckily not killing himself or his girlfriend) and uses one of these things (after his attorney brother got him a sweetheart deal) thinking that he’s managing his alcoholism (and beating the mandatory piss tests). It enrages me. I don’t drive or fly while under the influence of alcohol precisely because I don’t want to kill anyone. I take driving *very* seriously and hate it when people don’t drive safely.

    • 0 avatar

      Certainly don’t drink & drive. That’s pretty straightforward. But what about if you were at a party, drank all night, got home at 2am. Should you drive to work the next day? Chances are you’re still over the limit. That’s when a breath test machine might be worthwhile.

  • avatar

    People do go out and have drinks and they do drive, that is a fact I am surprised these companies have not been sued out of business, give some credit to the folks who bought these that are at least making a attempt, and as well as Uber is for giving you a easy out when your at a bar they are not in every city , I was surprised to find out they are not in Buffalo NY for example.

  • avatar

    I always figured those breathalyzers were nothing much more than novelties. Kinda common knowledge and I wouldn’t bet my license on one of them (nor would I bet my lack of a criminal record and perfect record of so far zero major wrecks…).

    They’re great fun for drinking games though!

  • avatar

    Top tip: Always look for the quality label attached to these devices. The words “Made In China” assure quality components and careful assembly.

  • avatar
    formula m

    I’m sure the police issued model is flawless…

    • 0 avatar

      Far from it. Even though they’re much more expensive, they require regular calibration. Even then, they’re not admissible in court. They only qualify as probable cause.

      Law Enforcement must then use a much more accurate device. Some states allow a much more advanced breathalyzer that require a certified operator and must be calibrated for each and every use.

      Some toy purchased on ebay can’t compete.

  • avatar

    The breathalyzers used by the police are no better.

  • avatar

    “In an embarrassing turn, the single-use breathalyzer sold by the province’s government-controlled liquor retailer was judged to be “useless.” Whoops.”

    This is what is most disturbing to me.

    I remember I purchased an “official” breathalyzer that was supposedly good enough to be used in court by an officer. I really was all over the place depending on how much air pressure you used. To me that’s not accurate enough evidence to convict somebody, but I guess we’re all going along with it.

    Despite what bureaucrats say, my guess is they are devastated by Uber and Lyft and what that has done to their coffers with the decline in DUI arrests and fines.

    • 0 avatar

      Portable breathalyzers used by law enforcement require training to use, calibration, and are generally NOT admissible in court. They are merely provide probable cause for further investigation. See my post above.

      If you would sold a “court admissible” breathalyzer, you were likely lied to.

  • avatar

    So, the government (Quebec) sells you the liquor, sells you the device to measure if you have had too much, then arrests/fines/jails you because the device is useless. Quite a racket!

  • avatar

    Here in SoCal there are regular reports of someone getting busted for DUI and their attorney subpoenas the breath tester and its records of maintenance and calibration. It’s often found that the device is wildly inaccurate. The case is dismissed and sometimes there is a search to find out how long the tester has not worked.
    Sometimes other convictions are reversed. I often wonder how many are not informed of these events and still have a questionable arrest and conviction on their record.
    Of course there are also those that drive impaired that do not get caught.

    • 0 avatar

      Wildly inaccurate or just not calibrated? Those are two different things. A failure to calibrate can be a reason to disallow the results as evidence.

      Disclaimer: Not a lawyer. Just someone commenting on a forum.

  • avatar

    Linda Bouchard! Linda Bouchard!

  • avatar

    “Whiskey bottles and brand new cars, oak tree you’re in my way”

  • avatar

    After reading the article, I did a bit of internet research on alcohol metabolism rate. BAC depends on how much you drink, how long ago you stopped, how much you weigh and your gender. BAC declines linearly at the rate of 0.015% per hour. If your BAC is 0.03% now, it will be zero after two hours. It helps to be male and big. Assume one drink, consumed over an hour with dinner. A 250 pound man will have a BAC of 0.016%. If he dawdles over dessert and coffee for half an hour, he will be almost cold sober. Women have it tougher. Under the same assumptions, a 100 pound woman would have a BAC of 0.033% and it would take her over two hours to become completely sober. In any case, the message is that one drink won’t put you over any current limit. That includes British Columbia’s 0.05%.

    For me, a glass of wine or beer is part of a good restaurant dinner. (I emphasize that it’s just one, not a drink or two in the bar before, half a bottle of wine during, and liqueur after.) From where we live to a good restaurant is a $50 taxi ride each way. We would spend more on transportation than on the meal. Therefore, I have no patience for “Don’t drink at all if you’re going to drive.” Should we get to zero tolerance (which I think is excessive), I will abandon restaurant meals and, instead, buy my steak and bottle at the grocery store and consume them at home. The loss in income to restaurants and their staff will be someone else’s problem.

    • 0 avatar

      “The loss in income to restaurants and their staff will be someone else’s problem.”

      Depends on whos economic model you subscribe to. You have the same income regardless, so if you buy your meat from a local butcher or store, well, they get the money they otherwise wouldn’t have, and you have extra funds to spend elsewhere. If you happen to do all of this with local suppliers you may well end up supporting your community even more than if you were at a restaurant, because many restaurants are owned by national (or international) conglomerates.

      Anyway, to the rest of your comment: You may well be consistent in what you order, and what you eat, so your BAC may dissipate at a regular rate, always. A lot of folks are not, though, and creates two sets of issues: 1) that they may be impaired and not realise it, and 2) they may have a high enough BAC that a poorly calibrated breathalyser would consider them over the limit even if they aren’t. Both are situations you want to avoid. For those reasons at a minimum, “don’t drink and drive” is still the best policy for most people, most of the time.

      LOTS of impaired driving charges come to individuals who thought they had waited long enough or otherwise were unaware they were (still) impaired, after all.

      • 0 avatar

        A bottle of wine in a restaurant costs about twice what it does in a grocery store. I expect a similar factor applies to other ingredients in a restaurant dinner. There is plenty of room for savings by cooking for myself.

        The “economic model” I subscribe to is either of:

        Money saved is money I don’t need to earn which means I can afford to work less or not as hard.

        Money saved is money I can invest in order to retire (i.e. quit working) at a younger age.

        Regardless which alternative I take, the end result is a smaller contribution to the overall prosperity of society.

        • 0 avatar

          Well, two things:

          1) that model doesn’t work for most people – if you do piecework (i.e., many of the authors here) then sure, you can choose to do less, but most folks with fulltime work wouldn’t see a, say, 10% reduction in expenses by never visiting a restaurant as enough to change how much they work. however, even if they do:
          2) while YOU may no longer earn that money because you don’t need it, the demand doesn’t disappear, so someone else will do that work and earn the money instead, and distribute that wealth through their expenditures rather than yours.

          And of course, “more money at retirement” really means more to *spend* at retirement, so you’re just deferring that expenditure.

          so yes, while your local server may make less, and the national or international org that owns your restaurant may make less, someone else’s community will likely make more as a result. But for most people, that isn’t what would happen at all – they’d have more disposable income (since they’d do roughly the same amount of work) and instead spend that income elsewhere, too.

          Cooking at home and supporting your local farmers, butchers, markets, etc is a great way to ensure your income supports your community directly, and very likely saves you money in the process, while simultaneously increasing the amount of your income that actually *stays* local.

    • 0 avatar
      formula m

      The liqueur after dinner is a bit excessive… but my date doesn’t like to drink alone and I want to get laid

    • 0 avatar

      “It helps to be male and big.”

      That just makes it more expensive!

  • avatar

    A lesson in the types of devices should be part of the article. There are cheap Breathalyzer units that use semi-conductor based measurement and these can be wildly inaccurate.

    Fuel-Cell units are much more accurate, are more expensive, and require recalibration every 250 – 500 uses or every 12 months. Also some manufacturers recommend monthly use to keep the fuel cell humidified.

    All of these units state that you don’t eat or drink anything for at least 20 minutes before you test. So…there are a lot of things that need to go right to get an accurate reading.

    Clarification in the article would be nice. Many have said it and if you don’t drink and drive at all, then your chances are Nil to getting a DUI. This is the reason Uber and Lyft are awesome here in Seattle.

  • avatar

    There are lots of elderly drivers on the road where I live. Many of them are every bit as impaired as any drunk. Impairment should be based on tests of capability, not merely some arbitrary BAC value. If you get hit by someone who can’t see you because of cataracts and doesn’t know they hit you because of dementia, you’ll be just as dead as someone hit by an SJW updating their Twitter feed or a stoned drug mule.

    • 0 avatar

      There are a few reasons this doesn’t happen (maybe more).
      1. We like numbers. BAC can be measured numerically. Driving impairment cannot.
      2. DWI is big business for attorneys (notice that attorneys also make the laws). It’s the most defended crime in the country. There’s not as much money in defending the elderly.
      3. Going after the elderly isn’t socially acceptable.

      • 0 avatar
        DC Bruce

        As an “elderly,” I’ll call b.s. on this. One of the characteristics of being drunk (and I’ve been there plenty of times) is that often the drunk thinks he/she is not impaired. In fact, if memory serves, one of the stages of intoxication (assuming one keeps on drinking) is a stage where the drunk feels highly competent. Most old people I have been with — including me — know their limits and respect them. That’s why other’s get upset following some grandpa who’s driving 5 miles under the speed limit.

        May you live to be 65!

        • 0 avatar

          Everyone I know who drives after drinking understands that their capabilities are diminished. For many, it’s one of the rare occasions they drive in what normal society would call a reasonable and responsible manner.

          I think alcohol is demonized because people want to be able to retain it as an excuse for all the stupid things that they really want to do but won’t admit to.

    • 0 avatar

      How ’bout that future of yours, Todd?

      Soon you’ll be impaired by booze, hatred *and* old age!

    • 0 avatar

      You are absolutely correct. This is, even more, the case as things like marijuana are legalized (especially because we’re learning THC can have vastly different effects on different people, it’s not anything like alcohol), and as we learn that certain medications (a growing list, actually) impair as badly as alcohol do. And that doesn’t even take into account distracted driving (cell phones, passengers, even just being seriously pissed off or upset) – these ALL affect your response time and driving capabilities.

      Then on top of that, as you age, most people tend to stop having response times appropriate for driving sooner than they believe they do.

      The problem is, how do you test for them all? You can’t, and this, I’m sure, is a big part of why there’s so little change. Orgs look at all these issues and go “where to start?”

      That, and taking keys away from elderly voters is *always* difficult, even though it’s clearly needed.

      I think the only real fix for this is autonomous vehicles, really. Not only does it give individuals the choice to drink all they want and not endanger others, it allows the elderly who can no longer drive a real option to get around other than bugging family and friends, taking public transport, whatever. And it allows for “taking the keys away” to be done much sooner than it would be “acceptable” to do so (by this group, anyway).

      Any other solution gets complicated, which means complex legalese trying to define what “impaired” is in all these cases, and proper detection and enforcement, and so on and so on.

      *most* impaired driving, though, can be self-regulated. If you know you’ll be drinking, or taking drugs that tend to affect your focus and responsiveness, then plan on not driving as well. That still won’t catch every case, but it will drastically reduce the number of folks tempting fate, if nothing else.

  • avatar

    Cops use two breath test machines. The first is the PBT, or passive breath tester. This one will be given to you on the side of the road. if you fail, it becomes probable cause for an arrest, and then…..

    You are taken to the station for the big machine. This compares a sample of your breath to a calibrated ampule of water/alcohol. It is not portable, and needs to be at a correct temperature to work. The roadside machine is NOT sufficient to prove the ultimate charge, even the non junk professional units they use, not cheap Chinese contract nonsense.

    The problems are the assumption of a 2100:1 Blood-breath ratio, and making sure the reference ampoules are actually what they are supposed to be.

    A breathalyzer doesn’t determine your state of intoxication (said state being very variable among people), it just shows you have a certain BAL if the above two things are true. This means the State really doesn’t have to prove anything other than “operated vehicle” and “blew over .08”. Before this, you could hire a Doctor to testify that you’d just worked a double shift and that is why you looked tired with bloodshot eyes….the beer and a shot you had after work wasn’t enough to make you intoxicated….and let the Jury decide. Way too much work for the State….

    The vast majority of DWI that I see are either .1, if the person is normal and gets caught on a bad night, or .18-.2 if the person is drunk most of the time and occasionally drives.

    • 0 avatar

      The ones I hear about in the news because they get into wrecks are two to four times the legal limit.

      • 0 avatar

        I’ve had .22 and .23 as office records. I have seen in court someone who had a .38. That person was brought in for arraignment. Surprisingly, a woman, about six feet tall, not unattractive, and still able to walks, stand and sort of speak to the court. The look of utter contempt by the female Trooper who had to mind her was priceless.

  • avatar

    I am a retired from the Illinois State Police and the average DUI/DWI arrestee blood alcohol level for the State of Illinois was .17 for almost as long as I worked. When the .08 level became law, it still remained at .17 as an average and the most likely arrest for the lower level came about via traffic crash involvement or the result of a stationary sobriety checkpoint (which I believe are useless and unproductive most of the time).

    The PBTs we used were pretty accurate out in the field as probable cause and were re-certified twice a year as I recall.

    Here is some alcohol consumption vs. body weight information from the Illinois State Police website.

    This table shows the effects of alcohol on a normal person of a given body weight. Please do not take this table as a license to drink irresponsibly. Everyone is different, and alcohol effects each person in a slightly different way. Only you know your limits. Please drink within them.

    One drink equals:
    1 oz. 86 proof Liquor, or
    3 oz. wine, or
    12 oz. Beer

    Levels of Intoxication:
    BAC less than .05% – Caution
    BAC .05 to .079% – Driving Impaired
    BAC .08% & up – Presumed Under the Influence

    Weight Number of Drinks
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
    100 0.032 0.065 0.097 .0129 .0162 0.194 0.226 0.258 0.291
    120 0.027 0.054 0.081 0.108 0.135 0.161 0.188 0.215 0.242
    140 0.023 0.046 0.069 0.092 0.115 0.138 0.161 0.184 0.207
    160 0.020 0.040 0.060 0.080 0.101 0.121 0.141 0.161 0.181
    180 0.018 0.036 0.054 0.072 0.090 0.108 0.126 0.144 0.162
    200 0.016 0.032 0.048 0.064 0.080 0.097 0.113 0.129 0.145
    220 0.015 0.029 0.044 0.058 0.073 0.088 0.102 0.117 0.131
    240 0.014 0.027 0.040 0.053 0.067 0.081 0.095 0.108 0.121

    This table shows the effects of alcohol within one hour on a normal person of a given body weight. Please do not take this table as a license to drink irresponsibly. Everyone is different, and alcohol effects each person in a slightly different way. Only you know your limits. Please drink within them.

    • 0 avatar
      DC Bruce

      Thanks for this post. As a person who weighs 220 lbs., I would definitely not want to be driving after I had had 4 beers in an hour, even though that, according to the table, just slightly tips me into the “impaired” zone. And I say “not want to be driving” not because of fear of getting busted for DUI, but for fear of wrecking the car I’m in and/or injuring someone.

      My days of drinking a pitcher of beer at a time, all by myself, are decades behind me. ;-) Even then, I don’t think I downed a pitcher in one hour. More like two or three.

  • avatar

    Here in Ontario, we have a 2 month old baby clinging to life. Her 22 year old mother was DOA. The drunk in a Mercedes rear ended her Ford Escape. Last night a kid with a restricted , 0 alcohol license tried to make a left turn on a city street. at about 40 MPH. He managed to kill his buddy, and put a 20 year old young lady in intensive care.

    Over the course of the weekend the OPP laid 104 impaired charges. The GTA Regional police forces laid another 100 or so. They caught a dude doing 187 KPH {100 mph} on the 400 …$hit faced drunk. Another moron drove around a barricade, set up for the Santa Clause parade, with four empty beer cans in his car.

    Last weekend was not a holiday weekend, in Canada. So a few idiots figure you can buy a Breathalyzer from Wall Mart, then suck back a few “tall boys” and all will be well ? Well.. i guess if the rest of us are lucky, the cops will nail their sorry butts to the wall. If were not lucky?? Some poor innocent will pay the price..

    Personally, i cab it ,if i know i will be drinking. I carry 3 major credit cards, and $50 bucks tucked in the back of my wallet. As much as i care for my car , i will leave it parked anywhere, before i get behind the wheel. I couldn’t give a rats a$$ about the legal consequences of an Impaired charge. However, living the rest of my life knowing that i killed ,or maimed an innocent, would be far more than this old boy could deal with

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    This. A common issue here in the States — if not elsewhere — is the after office “Holiday Party” where alcohol is served. Some years ago, here in DC, an associate attorney at a major downtown law firm killed a pedestrian walking along the roadside on a suburban Virginia road, where the speed limit is, IIRC, 30 mph. I don’t think there is (or was) a sidewalk and there wasn’t much of a shoulder where the victim was struck; and it’s a two-lane road with a fair amount of traffic. So, that’s precisely the kind of situation that an impaired driver would have difficulty handling. Worse, the driver fled the scene of the accident (she claimed she didn’t know she had hit anyone!) but was later caught and successfully prosecuted (for more than DUI or hit-and-run). If memory serves, the victim’s estate (or relatives) sued not only the driver but also the law firm.

    My firm never had an after work Holiday Party; we had a Holiday Dinner for everyone — lawyers and staff. But the alcohol served was not some sweet, alcoholic punch or eggnog. Rather it was your choice of wine with dinner and the amount was rationed to about two glasses per guest.

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