Breathalyzer Used In Tri-State Under Fire

A breathalyzer used across the Tri-state is coming under fire on grounds it gives false positive tests.

Now, a court is demanding the Owensboro, Ky. company that makes it turn over inside information to see if it works.

Fox 19's Derek Scott has the story.

It's supposed to be as easy as blow and know whether you're drunk and driving.

But this Kentucky-made breathalyzer, called the Intoxilyzer 5000, may mean more questions than answers.

"I'm a certified operator for the Intoxilyzer 5000. In fact, this is the operator's manual that I've been given," said attorney Steven Adams.

His son, Sammy, in the background, Steven Adams is a father, one of the Tri-state's top DUI defense attorneys, and well-versed on the Intoxilyzer.

"We did a lot of experimenting on testing on these machines when I took the course in Florida. I actually ate some Wonderbread and blew in, and blew a .03. It's the yeast," said Adams.

Adams says the problem is the Intoxilyzer might say you're guilty of drinking and driving when you're not.

"Oh, I very much agree that you're penalizing people because of this antiquated machine," said Adams.

It's why Kentucky's Court of Appeals is forcing the Commonwealth company that makes the Intoxilyzer to turn over trade secrets to see if it's reliable.

Even though law enforcement agencies do vouch for it.

The real issue: If it proves faulty, who knows how many cases the Intoxilyzer has affected.

To give you an idea of how common it is, every law enforcement agency in Kentucky uses it. Cincinnati Police do, too.

"The bottom line is, don't take it. I don't care if you haven't been drinking. I wasn't drinking, I've taken the test before, and I've blown positive. That's a problem," said Adams.

FOX19 talked to a number of police agencies who use the Intoxilyzer, including the Cincinnati Police, and none of them reports ever having a problem with it.