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Hey, Buddy, Take This Bar Exam


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HEY, BUDDY, TAKE THIS BAR EXAM

The New Sobriety has sparked its share of trends, among them a proliferation of 12-step recovery groups, the demise of the three-martini lunch, and vast bottled-water displays at the store. Now, even saloonkeepers can cash in on the increased vigilance over alcohol consumption: a coin-operated breathalyzer that speaks 12 languages.

Safeguard Alcohol Analyzers Co. in Holbrook, N.Y., has sold 10,000 of the machines, which consist of a straw that the drinker breathes into and a computer that assays the drinker's blood-alcohol level. It delivers its reading via a digital display and a voice synthesizer. Users with high blood-alcohol levels are warned not to drive.

Bret Hoyt, president of Safeguard, points out that there's an added benefit to the machine: Bartenders can ask obstreperous patrons to take the test. If they score too high, out they go. Call it bouncer-in-a-box.EDITED BY HARRIS COLLINGWOOD


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