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Law enforcement express concerns over taking away breathalyzer penalties


Police officials say taking away the penalty for refusing a roadside breath test could increase instances of operating while intoxicated.

But a bill in a state House committee would do just that.

Bill sponsor Representative Peter Lucido says the portable breath test – or PBT – is unreliable and shouldn’t be used.

But police officers say it is one of the tools they need to determine if someone has been drinking and driving. They use the PBT along with other tests to see if someone is not able to drive.

Sergeant Matt Williams is with the Michigan State Police. He says the penalty for refusing a PBT helps officers when they have reason to think someone is operating while intoxicated.

“If we aren’t able to enforce OWI law, we very well could see the number of OWI crashes go up.”

Williams says the PBT is especially useful if someone isn’t showing other signs of intoxication, but was driving over the legal limit. Without the PBT, they would possibly have to let intoxicated people keep driving.