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Breathalyzer vending machines come to Amarillo

Amarillo, TX - A new type of vending machine is now appearing in some local bars across Amarillo.

For two dollars, bar patrons can blow into a machine that will measure their blood alcohol content level.

Dave Melton, the owner of the Boozelator machine, said his main goal is awareness. "All we're trying to do is raise awareness about drinking and driving. For someone who uses the machine, there are other people looking and observing what's going on. Therefore, maybe in the back of their mind they're saying maybe I should call a friend or maybe I should call a cab. That's our primary objective."
But your BAC level on the machine doesn't guarantee you a free DUI pass on the street. "We don't want to give people a false sense of security," said Corporal Jerry Neufeld with the Amarillo Police Department. "If they've had a few drinks and they blow into that breathalyzer, it may only show a 0.05 BAC level. The legal limit in the state of Texas is 0.08 so they think they can still go out and drive. If they're weaving all over the road and they're causing accidents, they can still be arrested for a DUI even though they're not at that 0.08."

The results of the machine are only seen by patrons of the bar. "There is no print out of the result, there is no recording of the result, and there is no liability on the manufacturer, the merchant, or myself," said Melton. "And there is certainly no liability for the patrons who choose to test themselves."

Local bartender Tammy Morgan said she's seen some patrons turn the machine into a game. "It's like a game to some of them to guess to see how much they've had and if it's enough. But mostly I've seen they've had someone to drive them home, and that's why they use it."

Melton said that's exactly the point of the machine. Right now, there are five machines in Amarillo and about 50 machines across the state.

Madison Alewel - NewsChannel 10

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  • Madison Alewel

    Madison Alewel

    Madison anchors the 4, 6, 9 and 10 p.m. newscasts. She joined NewsChannel10 as a reporter in October 2013.

    Madison anchors the 4, 6, 9 and 10 p.m. newscasts. She joined NewsChannel10 as a reporter in October 2013.

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