Bar breathalyzers not accurate, Saskatoon police warn

Breathalyzers are popping up in bars across Saskatchewan, but police warn the coin-operated devices may not be as precise as their tests.

Spokesperson Alyson Edwards says in-bar testers aren't as precise as police equipment

Erin Elsner, manager of Woods Alehouse in Saskatoon, demonstrates a newly installed coin-operated breathalyzer machine. (CBC)

Breathalyzers are popping up in bars across Saskatchewan, but police warn the coin-operated devices may not be as precise as their tests.

Users drop a toonie in the machine and it will give out a blood alcohol reading. However, Saskatoon Police are warning the machines are not as accurate as their professional breathalyzer tests. 

"I would hate for someone to think that they are equivalent in the accuracy that they're getting, and then suddenly think that they can drive because a two dollar machine is telling them that they can blow under the legal limit," said Alyson Edwards of the Saskatoon Police. 

The Woods Alehouse is one of the bars in Saskatoon that has the machine. The pub is donating proceeds from the machine to Stars Air Ambulance. 

Manager Erin Elsner said they've had the machine for about a week. She told CBC News that people seem to like the machine and noted the money raised is for a good cause.

"It would just be a way of raising money for that organization, as well as educating people on what blood alcohol levels end up being at," she said. 

While the machines may not stand up in a court of law, Edwards said one positive aspect to the machines is raising awareness about drinking and driving. 

Clarifications

  • A previous story stated the devices are part of a fundraiser for Stars Air Ambulance. Rather, The Woods Alehouse is donating proceeds from the machines to Stars Air Ambulance.
    Oct 30, 2014 12:16 PM CT

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