A viral video revelation that eating hot cross buns can affect the reading on police breathalysers does not provide a loophole for drunk drivers to escape charges. This according to expert attorney Robin Gerhold from Gerhold & Van Wyk Attorneys.
“These sorts of tricks are not new,” explains Gerhold. “A false reading may be given after consuming products containing yeast such as hot cross buns, by using mouth wash or even using deodorant prior to the test being performed.”
Gerhold says that because of this police tend to use the breathalyser as an initial test and are supposed to follow up any positive readings with blood tests.
“Ultimately, the courts are unlikely to convict a person on a charge of driving while under the influence of intoxicating liquor on the results of a breathalyser alone. A blood sample is generally tested, which will more accurately reveal whether or not the accused’s blood alcohol concentration is over the prescribed legal limit,” he says.
He does, however, warn that the work of ill-trained police officials may result in false arrests, or wrongful charges being brought in some cases where a driver may have been eating shortly before the test.
“Police officials administering the breathalyser test should be properly trained in the use of the device by the device manufacturer. This training should include a second test to be performed ten to fifteen minutes after the initial test, but in our experience, second breathalyser tests are seldom conducted. Such tests would substantially mitigate the risk of a false reading,” he says.
He added: “Failure to administer the test in accordance with the manufacturer’s training may result in the arrest being unlawful … One would not want to be subjected to the trauma of arrest and detention when one has merely consumed a hot cross bun”.