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Town Combats Drunk Driving By Getting Drivers Drunk

By ROB HOELL | wpix.com

August 19, 2009

GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (WPIX)

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A group of volunteers kicked back with cocktails to help Nassau County Law enforcement officials prove a point.

After five drinks Michael Henchy told PIX News he was feeling fine and that he could probably drive a car. But that all changed when he took a breath test and blew .08 making him legally drunk.

The message here: if you're not mixing the drinks yourself, you never know how much alcohol you're really consuming.

"You can go to any different restaurant or bar," explained Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice. "They have their owns standards on how much alcohol they put in drinks."

Surprised at how high their blood alcohol levels were, each driver said they would never get behind the wheel of a car. But guess what, they did anyway - at the assistance of police and on a closed course.

All the drivers had difficulty navigating a course they had no problem with before they began drinking. Most people assume they sober up with time, but that's not always the case, depending on how your body digests the booze.

Before Henchy gets the keys he takes one more breath test. An hour after he stopped drinking his blood alcohol content shot up to .13 putting him well over the legal limit of .08.

Henchy had trouble following directions, completing simple maneuvers and went through a stop sign..

"Tell you the truth it was a little scary," said Henchy after running over a few cones. "But I think I did pretty well for the condition I'm in right now."