Many enjoy spending time or relaxing after work by consuming alcohol and it is normal. Moderate alcohol consumption creates pleasing effects, including a general sense of euphoria. Health experts and government often advise drinking alcohol in moderation. Unfortunately, while many people take alcohol moderately, some may lose track of their consumption. At excessive amounts, alcohol can cause severe impairment and pose significant health and safety risks. People who do not check their alcohol level before driving increase their risks of getting into accidents. Alcohol overconsumption is one of the key factors in road crashes or collisions every year. As part of safety measures, police officers would conduct breath checking to minimise road hazards.
Alcohol breath checking is a customary procedure to keep the roads safe. First, law enforcement would patrol the road for signs of impaired driving. When they have a reasonable suspicion, they will ask a driver to pull over and perform breath tests. They would then use a breathalyser to determine the person’s intoxication level. A breathalyser is a portable device consisting of sensors to measure the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). The higher the BAC, the greater the severity of impairment. Today, you can get a device similar to what police officers use for personal purposes. The alcohol testers from Breathalysers Australia are excellent devices that can effectively help drivers stay within the allowable limits for driving.
Breath Checking Devices: Breathalyser
The main question most people ask about breath checking devices is how they measure alcohol. However, before delving into how breathalysers work, it is essential to know first how the body processes alcohol. When we ingest alcohol, a fraction passes from the stomach to the small intestines and the bloodstream. Next, the blood circulates the alcohol molecules to various body parts, including the lungs. Then, alcohol vaporises in the deep lung air, where they stay for a definite period. Finally, portions of it exit the body through exhalation. All breath test devices follow a standard breath to blood alcohol ratio of 2100 to 1. In theory, 2100 cubic centimetres of exhaled breath will contain the same per cent by weight of alcohol as one cubic centimetre of blood. It means that the alcohol in the breath is proportional to the amount in the blood.
Kinds of Breathalyser Device and their Properties
All breath checking devices capture the exhaled breath to process the BAC level through the sensors. However, not all breathalysers are the same. Breathalysers use three main technologies to measure alcohol:
- Semiconductor sensor – The breathalyser use oxide sensors that will chemically react when it contacts alcohol. The reaction causes a change in the resistance of the semiconductor sensors based on the volume of alcohol. The device converts the difference in the resistance into BAC.
- Fuel Cell sensor – The breathalyser uses platinum fuel cell sensors to measure the BAC. It undergoes an electrochemical process to oxidise alcohol in the breath. The oxidisation produces small electrical charges in proportion to the amount of alcohol in the blood.
- Spectrophotometer – It is a tabletop device that works to identify molecules based on their absorption of infrared light. The level of ethanol is singled out and measured, determining a person’s alcohol level. These devices are commonly found in police stations to take more accurate BAC readings.
Breath Checking Devices: Relying on Accuracy
The breathalyser sensors measure the alcohol content differently and have various accuracy levels. Semiconductor sensors are the most affordable of all types. However, they can react to any alcohol present in the breath and not just ethanol. For example, semiconductor breathalysers tend to cause false positives, especially for people with diabetes. This is because they have higher acetone levels that may react with the semiconductor sensors. Likewise, alcohol-based products like a mouthwash, breath spray, or mint gums may also lead to a higher BAC (with semiconductors). Breath checking with devices from Breathalysers Australia ensures no ambient air goes into the sensors. In particular, the BACtrack Go Keychain has a fold-away mouthpiece to secure the device when not in use.
Breathalysers with fuel cell sensor technology provide higher precision. They are specific to ethanol and do not react with other substances. In effect, they are less likely to produce false-positive results. Moreover, fuel cell breathalysers maintain consistent BAC readings despite back-to-back tests. It is also the same technology that police officers use in roadside screening. The BACtrack S80 Pro is a top-of-the-line breathalyser that delivers close BAC results as a police breathalyser. You can ascertain accurate breath checking with the breathalysers from Breathalysers Australia. Lastly, the spectrophotometer is considered the most precise breath-checking device. However, its high cost and availability make it more suitable for police use. The results from a spectrophotometer can be used as evidence in court for drink driving charges.
Guidelines in using Breath Checking
If you compare your BAC with a friend, it is less likely that you will have the same results. This is because our body processes alcohol differently, so you will have different BAC even if you drink the same alcohol type and amount. Particularly, many individual factors influence the BAC, including age, weight, body type, water content, metabolic rate, and medications. To ensure the most accurate results, follow these guidelines during breath checking procedures:
- Wait at least 20 minutes after the last consumption before taking a breathalyser test. The waiting period ensures that the body absorbs alcohol thoroughly.
- Take a deep breath before blowing into the breathalyser. Then, blow continuously until you hear the end sound of a beep.
- Avoid using alcohol-based products before taking the breathalyser test.
- Take a breath test in a room with no strong winds, alcohol being served, or other fumes.
- Have your breathalyser periodically recalibrated when it is due. The sensors may build up alcohol residue over time, affecting the accuracy of the results.
The Breathalysers from Breathalysers Australia
Breath checking devices are proven deterrent to harmful alcohol use. The rise of personal breathalysers helps people be more aware of the dangers and harm of alcohol. With a breathalyser like BACtrack, you can accurately check your BAC and stop relying on guess estimates. It also helps many people moderate their intake to stay within the legal limit. In Australia, police can charge you with DUI or drink driving if your BAC level reaches 0.05%. Additionally, it is hard to determine how many drinks will get you to 0.05% as different beverages have varying alcohol concentrations.
Breathalysers Australia has a comprehensive selection of alcohol testers for personal use. Most BACtrack breath checking devices employ fuel cell sensors to determine the precise BAC level. The pro-grade accuracy of BACtrack makes them comparable to the one police use. Moreover, Breathalysers Australia offer different devices with unique features suiting various needs or styles. You may select from keychain, smartphone, or premier breathalysers to help check your breath every time you go out. Lastly, these devices only need 10 to 15 seconds to determine your BAC result. This feature can enable users to take tests more frequently.