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alco300.jpg Submitted by Nadine Maeser on Thu, 12/31/2009 - 5:40pm.

2010 is fastly approaching and there's one thing you should know before you begin celebrating the New Year. "If your going to drink tonight, do not drive at all," said New Hanover County Sheriff Ed McMahon. Not all bar-goers share Sheriff Mcmahon's sentiments. A small gadget called a portable breathalyzer, is used to evaluate a person's blood alcohol content. It's available in stores and online. Some people use them to gauge whether it's safe for them to drive after drinking. "I think it's a creative idea I think it's a good idea to have these available to the consumer just as kind of a sanity check in terms of am I good to go on the road?" said Eric Lewis, who supports the portable breathalyzers. But are these devices accurate? Some are, some aren't. Sheriff McMahon says either way, people should not rely on personal breathalyzers when deciding to drive a car. "Even with ours as dependable as they are we would never have someone blow in the Alcha-Sensor and say okay you're drunk or you're not drunk," said McMahon. Kaitlin Byers, who is 21-years-old, plans on celebrating the New Year downtown. She says she wouldn't rely solely on what the portable breathalyzer registers, but it would be handy to have. "I think it's a good backup thing if people need it," said Byers. "I think it's definitely a safety issue." "I wouldn't mind having one, if I'm at a party or something and I wanna make sure we're okay," said Lewis. With or without this gadget, McMahon wants to remind New Year's revelers-- if you booze it, you will lose it. "Dependable or not dependable, I'm sure they'd be a lot of fun and probably most times they'd be fairly accurate but if you're going to be drinking at all, just don't drive," said McMahon. "You do not need to be driving."

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