Unless you’re currently drunk, then you know that drunk driving is illegal in the US. It is defined as driving while having a B.A.C. that is .08 or higher. Alcohol can negatively stimulate the mind and damage temporary senses. This makes the intoxicated individual an increased hazard when operating large machinery under dazed concentration.
The dangers of drunk driving, primarily “buzzed” driving
The more intoxicated someone is, the greater the chances are that the person knows he or she can’t drive. The danger with drunk driving is often found during tipsy driving: driving with a B.A.C. between .08 and .15. At this stage, people are probably experiencing their sweet spots and believe they can do anything.
Some people maintain a car breathalyzer for these situations. By using a breathalyzer, these people hope to eliminate the possibility of “buzzed driving,” however, are willing to drive at B.A.C. levels that law permits (.01 to .07).
Relying on a breathalyzer can be like playing Russian Roulette
The world becomes increasingly immune to mistakes because of the increased proficiency of technology. If a breathalyzer reads under the B.A.C. limit, then people are bound to assume it’s correct, even when it’s between .07 and .08.
Don’t take your B.A.C. reading for granted, especially from a cheap breathalyzer. The readings aren’t precisely accurate, and you don’t want to risk your driver’s license, career, and freedom from drunk driving at .084 when your car breathalyzer read .071.
Breathalyzers are scientifically inaccurate
A Total DUI newsroom update claims that there are 10,000 drunk driving cases that are being argued throughout the New Jersey courts because breathalyzers are unreliable. The validity of breathalyzers is disputed because they assume things about the victim being tested. For example, breathalyzers don’t account for medical conditions such as gerd, but this can create inflated reads.
If the police force’s breathalyzers are inaccurate, then yours will likely malfunction even more.
Personal experience with using breathalyzers
I purchased an AlcoHAWK breathalyzer earlier this year for two reasons. The primary reason was for fun; I wanted to check my B.A.C. reading after I had drank a certain amount of alcohol throughout the night. I wanted to learn how many shots of liquor it took to get me to .08, when I started feeling my sweet spot (almost always .13), and where I was at when I ended the night. For leisure, a breathalyzer can be a neat toy.
The secondary reason I acquired a breathalyzer was for the days following drinking. If I drank the night before and wanted to go somewhere the next day, I wanted to make sure my B.A.C. was permissible.
After playing with the breathalyzer for a few intoxicated nights, I felt unconfident in its precision. In one instance, I blew a .27 after only a few drinks. I blew into it again, and got a more believable .09. I’ve also had the opposite scenarios happen where my B.A.C. reading was .08, although I had to squint to see the clock right next to me while posting crazy messages on Facebook.
Breathalyzers are unreliable and should only be used as a secondary source
If you drink, don’t drive; almost doesn’t spare you from a misdemeanor or felony. If you haven’t
It’s impossible to suggest a passable amount of drinks because medical conditions, size, and immunity can affect your B.A.C and your alcohol reaction. Reguarly, blood leaves the system at one standard drink per hour. If you need to drive, consider how many hours it will take to cover your standard drinks and add a couple hours unto that.
Of course, don’t forget to account for hangover recovery.
Total DUI, New Jersey Breathalyzer Found Unreliable by Judge: What This Could Mean for New Jersey DUI Cases! July 14, 2010. Joseph Nicholson, “How Quickly Can the Body Metabolize Alcohol?” eHow. July 14, 2010.