Portable “Breathalyzer” devices are tiny little machines that are designed to estimate a person’s blood alcohol content (BAC) by measuring the amount of alcohol in their breath.
They’re a pretty popular item among spring-breakers and party-goers, because nobody wants to end up charged with drunk driving over a couple of beers and and an error in judgment.
But are they accurate? Maybe. Here’s what you need to consider before you rely on one the next time you’re out at a party or bar.
Pocket Breathalyzers: Cheap, portable — but maybe not reliable
You can pick up a BACtrack model (which is highly rated) for around $50 or less, and toss it in your backpack or bag when you’re out. These top-rated devices are said to be accurate at measuring your BAC within a .001% margin of error.
In theory, that sounds great. In practice, it might not be so simple. That margin of error is there only when you do the test exactly right and there’s no problem with the machine. Did you forget to wait at least 20 minutes after your last cigarette or drink before you blew into the device? You’ve skewed your results. Did you breathe too hard or too shallowly before you tested yourself? You’ve skewed the results. Has the device been bumping along in your backpack or car for weeks or months? It may no longer be calibrated correctly.
While portable devices like these may offer some form of assurance that you’re under the legal limit for driving, they really aren’t completely reliable. If you have to question if you’re “sober enough” to drive, you probably should call for a ride.
A small mistake doesn’t have to ruin your future
It’s easy to overestimate your sobriety and end up with a drunk driving charge. A single mistake shouldn’t ruin your life, however. If you’ve been charged, talk to a Clermont defense attorney today.