Personal Breathalizer



This is a nifty little device that can help you gauge your blood alcohol level. For example, if you are out somewhere and you have had a few alcoholic beverages, you might want to know if all the alcohol you have consumed has left your system. Simply blow into one of these gadgets and an approximate blood alchohol reading will appear, notifying you of your BAC level. Based on the result you will know whether to wait for your BAC level to reach zero before driving, or to make arrangements to arrive at your next destination without having to drive there yourself.

It is very important that you understand that driving with a blood alcohol level greater than zero is still considered illegal. Just because your BAC level may be below your state limit, doesn’t mean that your are legal to drive. In addition it is possible to get a DUI for being under the influence of other chemicals other than alcohol – whether they are illegal or not. I have heard you can get a DUI from drinking too much coffee. For example, if you admit to driving dangerously because you are too amped up on coffee, you have just admitted to driving under the influence.

Back to personal breathalizers. They range from $30 units to $500. There are a few versions that will attach to your keychain and many versions that are similar to what the police use.

Typical features to look for:

  • Self Calibration
  • Sensor Accuracy
  • Mouthpiece Requirements
  • BAC Range

Self Calibration:

Calibrating scientific instrumentation can be a difficult task. Be sure to choose a breathalizer that is easy to calibrate or self calibrates. Calibrating generally means that you have to “zero” the instrument before you take a measurement. A simple example would be if you to weigh yourself on a mechanical scale. If the scale does not read zero pounds before you get on to weigh yourself, then you must adjust the scale to zero pounds before you measure your weight. Otherwise the scale will add or subtract from your actual weight giving you an incorrect reading. The same principal applies for breathalizers. You would not want to get an inaccurate BAC reading, thinking that you were legal to drive.

Sensor Accuracy:

This is a very imporant feature when purchasing a breathalizer. If the device is not very accurate, you could be mislead to thinking that you are safe and legal to drive. You will find that breathalizers that are more accurate tend to be more expensive.

Mouthpiece Requirement:

Some breathalizers require the purchase of a moutpiece. Some do not require a mouthpiece. Be sure to check on this before purchasing.

BAC Range:

This range of possible blood alchohol level endpoints the device can operate within.