GUARDIA Civil traffic police have exposed some of the most common “clever tricks” used by drivers over the alcohol limit to fool officers into thinking they are sober and to try to “beat the breathalyser”.
But here’s the bad news for anyone with little regard for the safety of other road-users: they don’t work!
Random breathalyser checks are often programmed ahead of major public holidays, during the start of the summer traffic exodus, along with the “operation return” in September, during or after important football matches, parties or events. Less frequently, they may be staged over ordinary summer evenings and weekends, but they can also crop up for no apparent reason.
You may as well co-operate, because refusing to be breathalysed is a criminal offence. And, if you’ve decided to drive, you should be in a position not to have to worry about the test.
But Guardia Civil officers say there are always motorists who think they can outsmart them. There will always be someone in a social group who tells the others, confidently, that they “have only to do this one thing, and the authorities will send you on your way”.
This is not clever, say General Directorate of Traffic (DGT) officials, because alcohol is present in 30-50% of crashes involving deaths, making it one of the biggest risk factors on Spain’s roads.
“Drinking olive oil, chewing grains of rice, chewing-gum, sucking a lemon or drinking egg-white… these tricks and others like them do not alter the breathalyser result,” stresses the Guardia, on their Twitter site.
“And if you mix them with alcohol, they can cause a colossal stomach ache! The best way to beat the breathalyser is sticking to 0,0.”
Other rumoured techniques said to lead to an alcohol-free result in an over-the-limit driver include swilling mouthwash, drinking several litres of water, making oneself sweat, or having a coffee or Red Bull as one’s last drink of the night.
But, say traffic police, these are equally pointless.
Many drivers believe breathalysing, which shows up the quantity of alcohol in the breath, also shows the volume of alcohol in the bloodstream, meaning disguising breath content will, additionally, show a zero reading for blood alcohol levels.
But this is not true. The saliva involved in a breathalyser test, which shows up blood-alcohol levels, means these will be evident, simply by the driver putting the tube into his or her mouth.
Police also have a message for those who think they can drink and then avoid spot-checks by taking a “secret”, cross-country shortcut home.
The Guardia Civil know every road in the country, and you cannot “hide” by taking a back street instead of a major highway.
They have, in the past, debunked urban myths among expats about whether or not their urbanisation roads are “exempt” from drink-driving laws.
Rumours have circulated among British nationals especially if they live on an estate which has not yet been “adopted” by the local council because the construction has not been completed in accordance with the original plans, or does not yet have “cédula”, – that the roads are “private, and it is not against the law to drive on them over the limit”.
This is not the case, since cédula covers jurisdiction and responsibility for public-service provision, not ownership, meaning all the usual road laws apply.
In fact, even on a gated urbanisation, with security barriers or pass-codes at the entrance, drinking and driving is still dangerous, and offenders will be punished, accordingly, if caught.
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