How is an Interlock Breathalyzer Different from a Regular One?

Safe and responsible driving starts with awareness of your capabilities. Drivers must be extra alert to assess dangerous elements in their surroundings. However, when their senses are impaired, it can affect their road safety. Alcohol impairment is one of the leading causes of car crashes. Intoxication causes reduced abilities in vision, hearing, coordination, and reaction time. To counter the negative consequences of alcohol, Australia imposes stricter regulations and punishments. Drink driving penalties include fines, driving disqualifications, and imprisonment. Moreover, a driver may be subject to an alcohol interlock program if their Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) is high. Likewise, repeat offences can also lead to the mandatory installation of an interlock breathalyzer. 

Differences between an Interlock and a Regular Breathalyzer

Most people are familiar with a breathalyzer. Many people use them while consuming alcohol at a party or a bar. For example, the BACtrack devices from Breathalysers Australia are portable alcohol testers that can estimate the alcohol level. They help people monitor their intake to remain within the allowed limit for driving (0.05% BAC). On the other hand, an interlock breathalyzer is a breath testing device designed to prevent drink driving. Moreover, it is worth noting that the interlock breathalyzer is typically connected to a vehicle’s ignition system. The car can only start if the breath sample is 0.00% or below the pre-set limit. In addition, people under the alcohol interlock program must maintain 0.00% BAC before driving. Therefore, a person must perform a breath test every time. 

A regular or personal breathalyzer comes in various assortments. They are extremely portable and easy to carry. Additionally, breathalyzers utilise semiconductor or fuel cell sensors. Semiconductor breathalyzers are more affordable and ideal for personal alcohol screenings. Meanwhile, fuel cell sensors give more consistent BAC readings despite back-to-back tests. Breathalysers Australia has a comprehensive selection of alcohol testers suitable for personal or professional use. You can choose alcohol testers with keychain holders, pro-grade devices, and breathalyzers with smartphone connectivity. In particular, The BACtrack S80 Pro is a pro-grade breathalyzer using fuel cell sensors, giving precise BAC results. Going through an interlock breathalyzer every time you drive can be a hassle. Therefore, personal breathalyzers like BACtrack are excellent to avoid legal charges.


Features of an Interlock Breathalyzer

An interlock breathalyzer is a device attached to a car typically in long periods. Only the service provider can uninstall the equipment after you complete the program. Moreover, modern interlock breathalyzers have advanced features to get accurate BAC readings. The device also makes it difficult for people to circumvent the test results. It has the following features:

  • Fuel cell sensors – Fuel cell sensors are sensitive to ethyl alcohol. They do not react with other substances in the breath. Therefore, they provide accurate BAC results. It is the same technology that law enforcement uses in roadside screenings
  • Random retest – The interlock breathalyzer prompts further breath tests at random intervals while the vehicle is running. It prevents drivers from consuming alcohol once they have started the car.  
  • Lockouts – Failure to pass a breath test can result in a temporary lockout. For instance, if the BAC is 0.02% or higher, the device will stop the car from running. In a temporary lockout, you must wait for a few minutes to take the test again. If the retest is also unsuccessful, the subsequent duration is longer. Multiple failed breaths may result in a permanent lockout where the unit requires a code to function again.  
  • Optional camera – Some ignition devices come with a camera to record the test. It ensures that the right person provides the breath sample.
  • Record results – The device has advanced software to record all the BAC results. It can also record any tampering attempts by disconnecting the wires or unlawful removal. 

The Alcohol Interlock Program

The court issued an alcohol interlock program to persons with mid to high-range drink driving offences. The BAC level can range from 0.08-0.10% or higher, depending on the State or Territory. People under this program must immediately apply for a limited license to be allowed to drive. The person must complete the interlock period for a minimum of twelve months, depending on the severity of the offence. On top of that, the person must avoid drink driving during the period. Attempting to drive intoxicated can lead to an extension of the alcohol interlock. Likewise, using another vehicle also constitutes a driving violation. Therefore, the driver must strictly have a 0.00% BAC level before blowing into an interlock breathalyzer. 

Only an accredited agency or provider can install an interlock breathalyzer. The person must bring the vehicle for servicing every month. The maintenance includes checking that the breathalyzer is functioning properly. The centre downloads the BAC data and submits it to the relevant agencies for monitoring during the service. Furthermore, the alcohol interlock program aims to prevent people from repeating the same offence. To exit the program, the person must prove that they can separate drinking from driving. Most people check their BAC level with a personal device before blowing in to the ignition breathalyzer. It helps people monitor their sobriety and ensure a hassle-free ride without any further penalties. 


Advantages of a Personal Breathalyzer

Personal breathalyzers can help monitor your alcohol level. They are cost-effective devices to estimate the BAC level in real-time. If you are under the interlock program, you cannot use the interlock breathalyzer to monitor your BAC. You can only use them every time you drive. In addition, multiple failed attempts may result in temporary or permanent lockouts. Therefore, a personal breathalyzer is necessary. You may use a personal breathalyzer from Breathalysers Australia to check your BAC anytime or after a few rounds of drinks. The best way to avoid legal charges altogether is to prevent drinking and driving. You can ask a sober friend to drive for you or take a taxi or public transportation home. If you must drive, ensure that you keep alcohol intake to a minimum. A personal breathalyzer gives these important benefits and uses:

  • Help moderate the alcohol intake.
  • Monitor the alcohol level from reaching the legal limit.
  • Portable – can fit in pocket or purse.
  • Easy to use – the BACtrack breathalyzers have a one-touch system for fast use
  • Prevent road accidents
  • Avoid legal charges

Devices at Breathalysers Australia

Being in an alcohol interlock program is costly and inconvenient. However, it is necessary to keep the roads safe. An interlock breathalyzer aims to reduce accidents and other alcohol-related incidents. It also keeps people with risky behaviours from repeating the same offence. To ensure safe and responsible driving, you can use a personal breathalyzer instead. Breathalysers Australia has many devices that can fit your style or budget. You can get a smartphone breathalyzer like the BACtrack Mobile Pro for BAC monitoring. The breathalyzer connects to a smartphone app via Bluetooth. Therefore, you can access your BAC directly on the mobile phone screen or track your consumption patterns. Moreover, it has ZeroLine technology that quickly estimates how long your BAC level will return to 0.00%. Without a doubt, using a breathalyzer is the best way to ensure safety.