News From the Nanny State: High Schoolers May Be Subjected to "Preliminary Breath Test" Gadgets During the School Day

Here's the latest in the continuing erosion of civil rights: high school students in Foxboro, Massachusetts may be subjected to hand-held, battery-operated "preliminary breath test" gadgets during the school day! When would they be forced to blow into these things? The link below to myfoxBoston.com reveals part of the formula. If the student shows signs of intoxication, like stumbling, slurring their speech, and smelling like alcohol, then they'll be forced to blow into the gadget.


Hopefully the student will not be diabetic, because she could display those same symptoms AND read positive for alcohol on one of these gizmos. Hopefully the student has not just rinsed her mouth out with mouthwash, chewed gum, taken cough medicine, or eaten breath mints, sore throat lozenges, or white bread, because all of those things can cause a false positive on some of these gadgets, too. And as an added bonus, most of these things don't even print out a "result", so the "result" is in the eye and memory of the beholder. There's some science!

If you read this blog you may remember an article I posted a couple of weeks ago about a woman in Florida who was nearly jailed for showing a false positive for alcohol because of exposure to hairspray. See Is She Drunk or Just Having a Good Hair Day, posting September 22, 2009. http://www.ByeByeDWI.blogspot.com

Are the gadgets going to be stored at a controlled temperature? How often will the batteries be replaced? Has the remote control on your TV ever not quite worked just right? These things use the same batteries. How often will the fuel cell be replaced? Are the gadgets going to be calibrated every 30 days, as most of their manufacturers' recommend? Where will the student spend the 15 to 20 minute deprivation period prior to blowing into the gadget? Why are these things called "preliminary" breath testers, anyway? Hey it's only a 20 minute intrusion into some one's freedom, so what's the problem?

It's 20 minutes you don't get back. And do you need a battery powered "preliminary" gadget to tell whether a kid who is slurring, stumbling and reeks of alcohol might just be drunk?

Mark Stevens

5 Manor Parkway
Salem, NH 03079





  1. What happens if a kid says hes not willing to take the breath test?

  2. A suspension for not cooperating is probably a good guess!