Recently, breath alcohol analyzers have become available to private individuals. Just a few years ago, it would have been extremely rare to see one of these devices outside of a police department. Now they are available for sale in specialty stores and online. All breathalyzers sold to consumers must be cleared by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Many people buy these devices just out of curiosity or to increase personal safety. They want to know how quickly their blood alcohol content will climb as they drink. Using these devices is simple. A person holds the device in their hand and blows into a mouthpiece. The device then detects the presence of alcohol. Some analyzers only display whether or not the person is over the legal limit of.08. Others display the person’s estimated BAC on a digital alcohol breathalyzer screen.
Individuals who want to know if they can legally drive may buy a breathalyzer just to be on the safe side when in doubt. However, it is important to remember that breathalyzers are only accurate at the time they are used. These tools can give a person a general idea what their blood alcohol content is, but when a person has been drinking for a while, their BAC can continue to rise even after they stop drinking.
Breathalyzers are also used as educational tools. Many individuals think that they can have quite a few drinks and still be a competent driver. They do not realize how high their BAC can be after just a few beers. If a friend brings a breath analyzer to a party or a bar, they can show their intoxicated friend that they really should not be driving.
Some restaurants and bars now offer breathalyzers at their establishments for those who are concerned about their alcohol level. Due to the recent increase in enforcement of drunk driving laws, establishments and their patrons are more aware of the dangers of drinking and getting behind the wheel. Offering these devices is a means of customers being aware of their personal responsibility to obey the law as well as the business trying to help them get home safely.
The consequences of driving under the influence go far beyond the possibilities of getting pulled over by the police for unsafe driving. While failing breath tests may lead to loss of license, fines and possible jail time, there is also the issue of personal safety. Physical reaction times are slowed by alcohol consumption and judgment is impaired, which may lead to loss of vehicle control and auto accidents.