How Effective Are Personal Breathalyzers?

June 23, 2014

Are Personal Breathalyzers Effective?

An average of 900,000 drivers are arrested annually on DUI charges. Personal breathalyzers are a tool designed to notify drivers when they are too intoxicated to legally get behind the wheel.

However, can you rely on your personal breathalyzer to tell you when you are or are not eligible to be arrested for a DUI? Keep reading to learn more about these tools and whether they should be trusted.


How Personal Breathalyzers Work

The alcohol you drink circulates through your body via your bloodstream to your lungs; when you exhale, some alcohol is carried away on your breath.

A breathalyzer works by measuring the amount of alcohol present in your breath, then extrapolating to determine the percentage of alcohol in your blood.

Although this reading is not direct, it is still a reliable measure that is used by law enforcement as part of a series of tests to determine sobriety.


Efficacy of Personal Breathalyzers

Like many products, personal breathalyzers are available with a range of prices and features.

Thus, it is important to note that not every breathalyzer will deliver an accurate reading.

Of the two types of personal breathalyzers, those with semiconductors are the most accurate. However, semiconductor breathalyzers do need periodic calibration to retain their accuracy.

If you wish to rely on your breathalyzer to provide you with an accurate blood alcohol reading to determine whether you can legally drive, you should purchase a higher-end model and keep it calibrated and maintained.

In general, breathalyzers that cost $20 or less should not be trusted for legal purposes; you should expect to pay in the range of $75-$180 for the reliable results you need.

In addition, you will need to get it calibrated regularly.

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