There is a news report from Dallas television station about a breath mint that supposedly “encourages drunk driving” by masking the smell of alcohol. I largely agree with the point that the company is certainly dancing around the edge of encouraging drunk driving to some degree. And I also agree with the police officers quoted that the product is very unlikely to help people “get away” with drunk driving, assuming the produced even works as well as stated.
What Happens in A Texas DUI Police Stop?
If a police officer pulls you over for drunk driving, there is a good chance he already suspects you of being impaired before he sees you or smells your breath. Unless you were only pulled over for speeding (which is not an indication of drunk driving), most other forms of erratic driving are instantly suspect of being alcohol related by many police officers.
If by your driving behavior or manner after the stop, the police believe you could be impaired, the police will arrest you for drunk driving. Such behavior that may be indicative of impairment could include slurred speech, glassy or bloodshot eyes, being unsteady on your feet, or failing field sobriety tests given by the side of the road. These are the common facts cited in police reports of drunk driving arrests.
So even if no alcohol smell is present, the police will find other reasons to arrest you. They may suspect that you’ve masked the alcohol smell, or you could be arrested for DWI drugs. It is illegal to drive impaired on any substance, not just alcohol.
For more info on DWI laws in Texas, go to our main DWI criminal defense page.
Bad on the Facts, But Great Marketing
The name of the product is highly suggestive of defeating police, which seems like a dubious claim. But clearly the PR company for the product, AntiPoleez, is doing a fine job. The impressive thing about this campaign is that they are getting free publicity from the news organizations covering this “story”.
Addendum: Texas DWI Stats Watch
The article again publishes the stat that “Each year, 1,600 people are killed by a drunk driver in Texas.”, which is incorrect.
The actual stats from the National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) state that there are 1600 “alcohol related deaths” each year in Texas. The definition of related is that one of the drivers involved is determined to have a BAC above .08. It has always been a pet peeve of mine how these numbers are compiled.
If there is a 10 car pileup where 3 people are killed, and the last car involved had a driver who had a .08 BAC. Are those legitimately alcohol related deaths? Alcohol had nothing to do with the accident, and it wasn’t caused by an impaired driver, yet those deaths would likely count in those stats.
NHTSA could fix this controversy by releasing and restating the raw stats to determine how many deaths are actually caused by drunk drivers. But they insist on always using the phrase “alcohol related” which makes me very suspicious. The only reason I can think of to categorize them that way is to pad the stats. And because when quoted in the media, it is always restated as a number caused by drunk drivers.