The Battle Of The Breathalyzer

smartphone-breathalzyer-vs-police-breathalyzerThe 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.

Will Your Big Mac Come With A Breathalyzer?

will-mcdonalds-bring-breathalyzer-to-usMcDonald’s is a popular spot to stop after a night of drinking. There’s just something about greasy food to take the edge off after too much alcohol, and the extended hours in many locations results in a lot of drunk people hanging around for hours after they should go home.

That’s why one McDonald’s in the United Kingdom has decided to try something new—they’ve installed a breathalyzer device in the restaurant, and they’ll soon be asking customers to submit to a breath test if they want to eat inside. Anyone who blows twice the legal limit of .08 will be denied entry, and the staff will search soft drink bottles and canned drinks for any signs of alcohol. If they are turned away and denied their favorite fast food, patrons will be given an informational pamphlet on the dangers of binge drinking.

The Cambridge location trying this pilot project is located very close to a few bars and night clubs, so it makes sense that people are heading there after the clubs close. With over 140 people charged with drunk and disorderly conduct in Cambridge last year, McDonald’s latest endeavor has the full support of the local council.

Not everyone supports the new breathalyzer initiative. Local college students feel it’s a violation of their human rights, but after another customer punched a woman inside the restaurant last year, the Cambridge McDonald’s feels it’s time to crack down.

The real question is whether or not McDonald’s in the United States will see this as an option and add it to US restaurants. There’s been news reports of unruly customers in McDonald’s for years, and employees have had to subdue drunk customers on more than one occasion.

Will your Big Mac come with a breathalyzer test? Odds are US McDonald’s restaurants will be keeping a close eye on the Cambridge location in the near future.

This Is The Year Of The Pocket Breathalyzer

Still-life with bottles with alcohol over textyred backgroundThe handheld breathalyzer – a few years ago no one could have predicted how popular these little devices would become, and they definitely couldn’t have predicted some of the problems that would rise from having a constant connection to your blood alcohol concentration (BAC). But technology is continuing to evolve and more and more of these pocket breathalyzers are hitting the market.

Because everything must be thinner, lighter, and faster than ever before, the pocket breathalyzer is expanding from key chain sized to built right into your iPhone case. One of the latest examples is the Moscase, a device that’s being promoted as a ‘well-being accessory.’ It looks like an iPhone 6 case but it uses an active back plate to send safe electromagnetic currents through your body. Using the currents, it measures your body fat content, stress levels, and according to the documentation, your BAC.

There’s no word on whether or not Moscase actually works to measure your body’s alcohol concentration, but if it doesn’t it’s not the only game in town. iDrink, a new iPhone case/breathalyzer device is currently fundraising on Indiegogo. It’s designed to contain a breathalyzer with its own battery, and iDrink will send your BAC straight to the app. It even includes a drunk driving game that increases with difficulty the higher your BAC reading is.

Although they may be built with the latest technology, these devices can’t stand up against the accuracy of a police grade breathalyzer or go head to head with the technology built into ignition interlock devices. Because you can’t rely on them to be 100% accurate, the real trouble will start if they become part of your decision process on whether or not you’re safe to drink and drive.

The bottom line? There is no safe amount of alcohol to drink before driving. You can have a pocket breathalyzer and use it for entertainment purposes or as a gauge for your health, but having it be a deciding factor on whether or not to put the keys in the ignition isn’t a good idea.

The Breathalyzer Hits The Red Carpet

Personal breathalyzers have been making news over the past year. They’ve shown up everywhere from high school proms to house parties when people want to make sure their guests don’t drink and drive, so it’s no surprise that the personal breathalyzer has arrived on the red carpet during awards season in Los Angeles.

One news crew pulled out their portable breathalyzers and asked celebrities to blow and test out their blood alcohol concentration (BAC), and the results are not what you might expect.


You can bet if the breathalyzer has hit the red carpet, you’re going to start seeing them everywhere, and portable breathalyzers like the BACtrack have become a must-have device because they’re quick and easy to use. It’s designed with fuel-cell technology in the same way police grade breathalyzers and ignition interlock devices are, and you’ll find that a portable breathalyzer like the BACtrack is a good tool to use if you’re curious as to how much alcohol you’ve consumed or whether someone you know has had too much to drink.

The downside of portable breathalyzers is that they give a false sense of confidence. You might be well under the legal limit according to your personal breathalyzer, but that reading might give someone the motivation to pick up their car keys and get behind the wheel.

We can’t all be driven around in a limo like the celebrities who used the breathalyzer on the red carpet, so although it can be considered fun to see how high your BAC is, you shouldn’t use a personal breathalyzer to ever determine whether or not you should drive. Driving after drinking any amount of alcohol is dangerous, and whether you’re drinking at a friend’s house or a red carpet event, your best option is to always contact a sober driver or call a cab.

‘Tis The Season To Recognize The Good Deeds Done By Police

breathalyzerIt’s a sad fact that in today’s society, people only see the police when they’re in the middle of a crisis or when they themselves are pulled over for a traffic infraction or drinking and driving. It can create a negative view of law enforcement in general, and the media doesn’t always help with the perception of police either.

News reports on TV, radio, and in newspapers will often cover bad news before they cover good news, and police are part of this coverage because they’re required to be present when these negative situations unfold. Part of their daily job is to put their lives on the line at standoffs, ask people to submit to breathalyzer tests, and contacting families after drunk driving crashes.

But if you do a little digging and look beyond the media coverage, you’ll see that the police also enjoy doing a lot of heartwarming things as often as they can. Simple random acts of kindness that don’t get media coverage are part of a normal day for a police officer – from picking up teddy bears on the highway and finding the owner, taking care of injured animals, and buying food or providing clothing for cold and hungry people.

One of the best stories about police taking time out of their day to give to others comes from the Lowell Police Department in Michigan. A few police officers got together and began stopping drivers for minor traffic infractions. They pulled over 50 people total, and instead of issuing tickets or performing breathalyzer tests, they asked them what they wanted for Christmas. This is what happened next.


Yes, a police officer’s job is to arrest people who are breaking the law, and that takes up most of their time, but it’s always nice to see the other positive side of law enforcement, especially during the holidays.

Will You Put A Pocket Breathalyzer Under The Tree This Year?

breathalyzerTis the season to head out for holiday fun and have a few drinks with friends. It’s a busy time of year, full of shopping and parties, and with your holiday to-do list full of errands and gifts you need to pick up, the one thing you don’t want to end up with is a drinking and driving charge. That’s why more and more people are choosing to put the gift of a portable breathalyzer under the tree.

Pocket breathalyzers like the Alcohoot, a smartphone-powered breathalyzer, are being promoted this year as great stocking stuffers or holiday gifts.

Why would a pocket breathalyzer make a great gift? In a nutshell, it makes a person think about the consequences of drinking and driving. Maybe they’d consider how one drink can affect their coordination or vision enough that they could cause an alcohol-related crash. A breathalyzer may also make the person you give it to realize, even if they’re registering within the legal limit, they shouldn’t be drinking at all if they are going to drive.

The bonus with a pocket breathalyzer like the Alcohoot is that it works with your smartphone via an app. Most people already have their smartphones with them when they’re out with friends, so it’s easy to check your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) when you’re busy having fun.

Pocket breathalyzers could also work to save someone from receiving a holiday gift that no one wants – a driving under the influence (DUI) or driving while intoxicated (DWI) conviction. If they are convicted of drinking and driving, they may be required to use an ignition interlock device, and that device will stop them from driving even if they only measure a state mandated BAC as low as .02.

By checking their BAC before they decide to drive after drinking, the person using the pocket breathalyzer will make other arrangements to get home. To make it easy for the person using the pocket breathalyzer, the Alcohoot also includes a link to Uber to find a sober driver easily.

If you’re looking for a last minute gift and you’re not sure what to pick up for a friend, you might want to consider a pocket breathalyzer. It’s a small device, fairly inexpensive, easy to carry, and it has the power to save a life.



History Of The Breathalyzer

breathalyzerIt’s hard to believe, but the beginning of the breathalyzer device actually goes back as far as 1874. That’s when research began on how possible it would be to use a person’s breath to test whether or not they’ve consumed alcohol.

It wasn’t until vehicles began to be manufactured on a large-scale in 1902 that the idea of measuring a person’s intoxication level became important, because that’s when people began to drive drunk. New York was the first location where drunk driving laws were put into place in 1910, and as people began to drive more, driving under the influence (DUI) laws began to pop up around the world.

Back then, police determined whether or not someone was under influence of alcohol by observing the driver for signs of intoxication. They’d look for bloodshot eyes, the smell of alcohol, and test whether or not a driver could walk a straight line or touch his or her nose. These types of exercises are still used by police and are now known as field sobriety tests, but at that time, it was all law enforcement had to go on in order to charge drunk drivers.

Photo credit http://www.drinkdriving.orgAt this point in history, both drunk driving and field sobriety tests were new to everyone, but that was all about to change again. In 1927, Emil Bogen did research involving air in a football that he tested for traces of alcohol. His research laid the ground work for the comparison of someone’s breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) to their blood alcohol concentration (BAC), and it was in no small part that this information helped Indiana University professor Rolla Harger invent the drunk-o-meter in 1938.

The drunk-o-meter measured alcohol levels through a stable breath-testing instrument, and it arrived on the scene right when the U.S. was in the midst of prohibition. To use the device, a person had to blow into a balloon, and the air was then released into a chemical solution. If there was alcohol on the breath the solution would change color, and he used a mathematical equation to estimate the amount of alcohol someone had in his or her body.

Photo Photo http://www.drinkdriving.orgIt wasn’t until 1954 that Robert Borkenstein took Harger’s invention and improved upon it, creating a portable tool he called the breathalyzer. He also invented a coin operated breathalyzer that would display messages like ‘Be a safe driver’ or ‘Be a good walker’ to the person who blew into it.

From these humble beginnings, the breathaylzer device has advanced over the years, and now standard breathalyzers used by law enforcement and ignition interlock devices required by drunk driving offenders utilize the latest in fuel cell technology to measure a driver’s BAC.

Technology may have improved the breathalyzer, but the reason it was invented in the first place is still an issue – the fight against drunk driving has been going on for over a century, and until the time when all drunk drivers are off the roads, tools like the breathalyzer will help enforce DUI laws all around the world.

Photo credit drunkometer and breathalyzer –


California Police Offer Free Breathalyzer Tests

breathalyzerWhat’s your reaction if you’re out at a club or having a good time with friends and you see a police officer walking around with a breathalyzer device? You might be nervous, because even if you haven’t got behind the wheel of your car yet, you may have been wondering how drunk you really are and if you should drive. But if California police have any say in it, you’ll be seeing quite a few officers walking around with breathalyzer tests, and their goal is to get you to think before you drink and drive.

Riverside police have launched a ‘Know Your Limit’ program 

They want to send a message to anyone who is out drinking – you really have no idea what your blood alcohol concentration is until you take a breathalyzer test, and a breathalyzer is the only way to accurately know if you’re too intoxicated to drive.

Taking a free breathalyzer is a much better option than getting behind the wheel of your car and hoping you aren’t over the legal limit. If you are pulled over in California and charged with driving under the influence (DUI), you’ll receive anywhere from 4 days to 6 months in jail, pay fines up to $2,600, and lose your driver’s license for 30 days up to 10 months. A judge also has the option to require you to install a car breathalyzer.

It’s a great time of the year for police to offer free breathalyzer tests and increase awareness about how easy it is misjudge your BAC. With the holidays in full swing, people are heading out more frequently to house parties and office events. If you do decide to drink and drive, you should know that police all across the United States have ramped up their DUI patrols for the holiday season too, so stay safe this holiday and skip the driving if you’ve been drinking

What Will Change Your View On Buzzed Driving?

breathalyzerIf you’re standing at a party and you see someone who is practically falling down drunk, you know they shouldn’t get behind the wheel. If they tried to drive, you’d probably feel confident taking their keys away from them. But what if you see someone who has been drinking, but they aren’t really exhibiting the signs of being drunk? Do you stop them from driving too?

For most people, the answer isn’t as easy as yes or no, and that’s the reason why so many people get behind the wheel while buzzed. Buzzed driving is defined as driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .01 to .07, and although you’re technically under the legal limit for driving, driving while buzzed can be just as dangerous as driving while drunk.

Research done by the University of California, San Diego found that drivers who are buzzed are more likely to be the sole blame for fatal car crashes than sober drivers. They also found that the transition between buzzed driving and drunk driving was a smooth one, meaning there is no jump in drunkenness or immediate downturn in driving skills – as blood alcohol concentrations go up, driving skills steadily go down hill.

Yet people all across the United States believe that, as long as you stay under the legal limit you’re OK to drive, and that’s why the Ad Council began creating public service announcements (PSAs) like this one. They’re designed specifically to change attitudes about the dangers of buzzed driving.


People know you shouldn’t drink and drive, but with over 10,000 people killed in impaired driving crashes every year, it’s clear they’re still making the choice to get behind the wheel. Unless you have a breathalyzer in your vehicle, you have no way of knowing what your BAC is before you drive, so if you want to stay safe, don’t drive after drinking, period.

3 Of The Best Black Friday Apps

Black Friday apps You’ve decided you don’t want to sleep on the sidewalk of a retail store on Thanksgiving night, but that doesn’t mean you don’t want to get your hands on the absolute best Black Friday deals of 2014. All you need is your smartphone, a few Black Friday apps, and a lot of energy.

Here are a few of the best apps for Black Friday:

Point Inside

Going to the mall is overwhelming on a regular day, but on Black Friday it’s even harder. With so many stores, it can be difficult to find the best Black Friday deals, but that’s where Point Inside comes in. Point Inside has maps for hundreds of malls in North America, and it will help you find the best Black Friday deals, give you an idea of what stores to hit first, and even help you find a place to park.


Why take newspaper ads with you when you’re heading out Black Friday shopping when you can have them all stored on your phone? Dealnews is an app that takes all of the deals and steals from retailers across America and pulls them into one app. You’ll find their ads and can set an alert if you want to make sure you’re up on the latest prices for wherever you’re shopping.


Want to compare Black Friday prices? Shopsavvy will be your best friend. This app scans bar-codes and compares them to an online database of prices, and it will let you know if the item you’re looking for is available.

Black Friday can be a lot of fun, so get your smartphones ready and take these apps along with you when you go shopping.

And if you plan on unwinding at a pub or restaurant after a long day of Black Friday sales, remember to download one of the Drive Sober apps available in many states. They’re designed to help you find a sober driver and remind you that drinking and driving don’t mix.

Happy Black Friday!

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