New Way of Avoiding Roadside DUI Tests


Baltimore Orioles pitcher Eric DuBose was arrested Monday in Sarasota, Fla. for driving erratically with what turned out to be a blood alcohol level of .113. None of which would be interesting enough to report here, except for this bit:

When instructed to recite the alphabet, DuBose allegedly said, "I'm from Alabama, and they have a different alphabet."

NEXT: The Case for Comics Journalism

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Registration required.

  2. Hot damn , I`m from TEXAS—-the “nuclur state”

  3. “New Way of Avoiding Roadside DUI Tests”:

    …move out of the United States?

  4. GG — Try this one, though it’s just a brief. Or go to…..

  5. Matt Welch,

    Much obliged. 🙂

  6. There was a weird law (don’t know if it’s still around) when I lived in Pittsburgh that required random alcohol checkpoints to be publicly announced. This meant that location of the checks could generally be found buried in the classifieds somewhere. Many a route was alterred by the Friday morning paper reading.

    Also, having a Steeler sticker on your car gave you a fighting chance if you did get pulled over.

  7. I wonder how soon “r”,”u”,”4″,and “b” will end up as words in a dictionary.

  8. Note that once when I was coming back into the U.S. on one occassion I was with a fellow Alabamian, and my friend, when asked what my friend’s country of origin was stated that it was “Alabama.” 🙂

  9. I lived in Sarasota for 5 years. I’d never seen an alcohol checkpoint let alone almost semiweekly ones like they have there.

    I’m not sure what it’s supposed to accomplish, but it does have the effect of making sidestreets somewhat more hazardous to drive around on at midnight, since thats where all the drunk people with any sense will be.

  10. I have an alphabet for him. The first three letters are DUI.

  11. Hot damn , I`m from TEXAS—-the “nuclur state”

    As odd as it sounds, “nuk-you-ler” is very common among nuclear engineers and reactor plant operators, especially those with Navy backgrounds. No dummies allowed among those ranks. It’s more of a traditional thing than a mark of ignorance.

  12. The Alpha`bamet:

    “aye, bay, sigh, die, aye, eff, jaye, aitch, aye, jaye, kaye, el, em, en, oh,* pie, ke-ew, are, ay-es, taye, dubya, acks, why, zaye.”

    *these 4 often conflated as “elmeno”.

    (Linguisitc Genius)

  13. I had this happen to me back in 1988 in Virginia. I was pulled over after the Super Bowl about 1:00 am in the morning. I had no clue why. They would not tell me. Then they take me through the DWI test. Now, 2 months before this a friend told me that he took a DWI test and part of the test was the Alphabet forward and backward! Hey I can’t do the Alphabet backwards sober or not. When they asked me for the Alphabet I told them I did not know it. They asked me if I had a job. I said yes I am a Computer Programmer. They asked me if I graduated from school. I said yes. I then informed them I never learned the Alphabet. Next, they call in two more patrol cars and ask me to stand on one foot with the other straight out and close my eyes and count backward from 80 to 50 by 1. I did that and then I received a ticket for no light over my cars rear licenses plate! So under no circumstance claim to know the Alphabet unless you know both forward and backward!

  14. Well, there’s always the Three Stooges’ version:

  15. Matt, that’s the funniest thing I heard all day with the possbile exception of Kev’s linguistic lesson.

    My stoner ex-brother-in-law bounced his car back and forth off the curbs in a residential neighborhood until all four tires blew.

    After failing to walk a straight line he responded to the officer:

    “Dude, it’s the sandals”

    The cops let him try it again barefoot.


  16. BTW, most CSI are total flunkies. They work for the cops and not the other way around.

  17. Franklin,

    You have to admit that there’s only one vowel in Alabama.

  18. How can you drive erotically? What an idea, I mean — oh, wait, sorry, damn dyslexia.

  19. Re: The Alpha`bamet:

    Please insert “yew” & “vaye” after “taye”.

    I can only plead that I am not a native speaker of `Baman.


  20. They *do* have a different alphabet. Our alphabet here in Florida is unique, what with tildes and accents and all. I never have mastered the trill thing.

  21. You have to admit that there’s only one vowel in Alabama.

    Blame the Indians. We stole the name from them.

  22. My driving instructor claimed that the only point of reciting the alphabet backwards is to test your reaction time. They’re not looking to see if you can actually do it, but how fast you start off with ‘z.’ I don’t know whether this is true (I’ve never been drunk, or pulled over, much less both at once), but my driving instructor seemed pretty aware.

  23. I knew a guy in school that would practice reciting the alphabet backwards when he was hammered. English was also his second language, Chinese immigrant. He got so good at reciting it backwards, that he would’ve been in more trouble if he was told to recite it forwards.

  24. Isn’t this the reason they use breathalysers? To avoid this kind of evasiveness.

  25. Mo, that’s exactly what I’ve been doing for a few years. Just sort of as a lame joke to amuse my fellow drunkarads. I sure can do it no matter how wasted I am. Though I think a cop would only get more suspicious when he asked for it and I recited it flawlessly in three seconds flat.

  26. Drunkenness works a bit like any other matter of setting. When you learn some piece of knowledge, it becomes a bit entangled with everything else you were perceiving at the time. If you memorize a list of words while a certain musical piece plays in the background, you’ll have better recall of the list if the same music is playing. Students score higher on exams given in the same room where they received instruction. Similarly, people can remember things better while drunk if they learned them while drunk.

    Also, where reaction time and hand-eye coordination are important, it helps to practice drunk so they you learn to compensate for the impairment. I used to know a guy who could juggle even while quite drunk, because that’s how he practiced.

    The lesson is clear: If you want to do something well while drunk, practice it while drunk. The reason people fail the field sobriety tests is because they don’t practice them. (Although I doubt that the eye nystagmus tests can practiced.)

    It’s my understanding (although I do not recommend trying it) that studies have shown that long-time drunk drivers actually learn to drive pretty safely. These are the people who no matter how drunk they get can still manage to slowly and carefully drive themselves home.

  27. Mark:

    Don’t patrol car officers keep a lookout for drivers who, especially around bar-time, seem to be moving slower than most drivers, taking longer than ordinary at stop signs, or otherwise exhibiting “too careful” driving behavior?

    Heck, using your turn signals at 2 a.m. is probably a dead giveaway. 🙂


  28. I know a smart-ass who was asked to recite the alphabet, and recited it backwards, just to show off. The cop wasn’t amused, and dragged him out of the car for the whole walk-the-line deal. He was relatively sober at the time, and he passed.

  29. My rule of thumb. When pulled over for drinking, don’t roll your window down more than an inch. Refuse all roadside tests, including the roadside breathalyzer. (You can’t really refuse the breathalyzer back at the station, or you lose your license anyway). Don’t let the cop trick you into getting out of the car. If he tries to get you out, ask, “are you ordering me out of the car.”

    Generally, the cop then does not have probable cause to arrest you. What happens is they impound the car and send you on your way (and they don’t care if they leave you in a dangerous area). Sure the impound fee sucks, and, in most places, kiss all your valuables goodbye, but it’s better than a DUI arrest.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.