PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — You know what they say about it being 5 o’clock somewhere. Here we are 10 a.m., and a bar at a Drexel Hill firehouse is jumping.
Tom, behind the bar, is turning out the drinks.
Meanwhile in a room above this crowd, is the long arm of the law. Evaluations and exams are underway to better understand intoxication levels. Everybody downstairs drinking will soon become test subjects.
Right now, they’re playing “Cards Against Humanity.” Meanwhile, police are tracking every single drink that’s being served.
And as the drinks go out, blood alcohol contents are rising.
“Tom, I need a double on this….this is really not working,” Sabrina, a volunteer, tells the bartender.
According to her latest BAC test, she is just over the legal limit of .08.
Inside, it might as well be a weekend party.
“Socializing, hanging out, playing games, chatting,” Sabrina says.
Asked if she’s buzzed, we’re given a definitive “no.”
Police have everything controlled — notes on who has had what, timing, and how much. But it’s a tough crowd.
“The police officer, the law enforcement officer, needs to learn to make stiffer drinks,” Sabrina says. “I actually bartend in my spare time – so I will teach them how to make cocktails later.”
Ahead of the formal testing session, we figure it’s time to see how Tom Johnson is fairing.
“I was .38, I mean, .038,” he says. “I would not have driven like that.”
Using a pen, he’s checked for “nystagmus,” a condition of the eyes associated with drinking alcohol.
Police examine for what they describe as an involuntary jerkiness. The test, or the details used to execute it, are not a secret or proprietary.
Police say results of that a person is above the legal limit have an 88 percent accuracy rate.
And it’s pretty clear Tom is under the influence, his eyeballs have an off-beat bounce.
Law enforcement officers are concentrating a room away on this exact test.
“You cannot control that and your eye doesn’t even know it’s doing it,” Lieutenant Stephen Oreskovich said.
“They say the eyes don’t lie,” Patrolman John Walsh said. “And it’s something easily picked up for somebody under the influence or of a controlled substance
The final tests don’t go so well, nobody passes.
Sabrina is now cresting at double the legal limit.
“The more people are going to understand the dynamics of being a sober driver, the better off all of us are going to be,” Captain Tom Johnson, of the Upper Darby Police force, said.
The science of intoxication — by reading the eyes — a deeper dive into the dangers of getting behind the wheel after drinking.
Officers from across the Delaware Valley, along with partners at the state, made the training event possible. Superintendent of Upper Darby Police Michael Chitwood presented certificates of participation to officers and those who assisted police.