The pocket breathalyzer market has really exploded over the past year, and you can find the tiny devices carried everywhere from big box stores to online. If a pocket breathalyzer isn’t convenient enough for you, you can also find smartphone apps that double as breathalyzers too.
But are these tiny breathalyzers even effective, and how do they stand up to a device like a police grade breathalyzer or an ignition interlock? One reporter from Michigan decided to find out by doing a test at the local county jail, and armed with a six-pack of beer, they put the two devices head to head.
After each beer, the participants tested their breath on both the smartphone breathalyzer and the police grade breathalyzer. The first round found that the test results were fairly similar, but with each test the number on the smartphone breathalyzer fluctuated wildly up and down while the police grade breathalyzer slowly increased. When one of the reporters who wasn’t drinking tried the smartphone breathalyzer, he noted that his blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was .04 without even drinking alcohol.
Not many people have the opportunity to compare a smartphone breathalyzer with a police grade breathalyzer, but you don’t have to do a comparison to be skeptical about whether or not the smartphone breathalyzer really works. These small devices aren’t designed with the same type of technology a police grade breathalyzer or ignition interlock are, and the reporter in this case believes that the smartphone breathalyzer may lull people into a false sense of security. If they don’t blow over .08, they may decide to drive anyway.
Driving after drinking any amount of alcohol is a mistake, even if you’re testing yourself after every drink you consume. To truly guarantee your safety and the safety of everyone on the road with you, ask a sober driver to get you home. That way, you won’t have to worry about how high your blood alcohol concentration is.