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Is It Worth Buying a Breathalyser?

21 December, 2023

A police officer showing the results of a breathalyser

Breath testers or breathalysers are commonly used by law enforcement to test drivers for alcohol on the road. Police officers use professional-grade devices to measure Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) levels accurately. There are also personal breathalysers available on the market that can be purchased for home use. However, many are interested if is it worth buying a breathalyser. For regular alcohol consumers, a personal device is worthy to help prevent exceeding the driving limits and avoid legal charges.

Drink driving is one of the road hazards that commuters face. It can lead to accidents and fatal crashes due to impaired judgment, slow reaction time, and loss of coordination. Therefore, it is always advisable to control alcohol consumption to prevent hazardous alcohol levels while driving. Fortunately, portable devices are affordable for personal use. This article will cover the uses of breathalysers for societal, personal, and workplace purposes.

Is It Worth Buying a Breathalyser – How They Are Used in Society

In today’s society, it is highly encouraged for individuals to test blood alcohol levels before driving. Breathalysers are devices that examine the alcohol concentration level of a person through the breath. Therefore, it gives an objective measurement of intoxication or impairment level in real-time. This use is valuable in road and healthcare settings.

Buying a breathalyser is a practical measure to check the BAC after consuming alcoholic drinks. It comes in different types and can be used for various purposes. For instance, some bars and restaurants have wall-mounted or coin-operated breathalysers. This allows people to test their breath alcohol levels before driving. Some hospitals, clinics, and wellness centres also have breathalysers to measure intoxication levels for patients.

One of the most significant uses of breathalysers is to minimise impaired driving. Roadside breath tests help to prevent accidents and deter individuals from driving under the influence of alcohol. Thus, the law implements legal limits for alcohol at 0.05% BAC. Drivers must not exceed this level, or they will get legal penalties, such as fines, license suspension, jail terms, and an alcohol interlock program for severe cases.

A Brief History

  • Dr. Emil Bogen established that breath could also determine the BAC levels aside from urine and blood. He invented a device that contained chemicals that changed colours when exposed to alcohol.
  • In 1931, Rolla N. Harger developed the first stable breath tester called the drunkometer.
  • In the 1950s, Robert Borkenstein developed the modern breathalyser that is known today. It uses a reaction between alcohol and potassium dichromate.
  • Law enforcement agencies widely used breathalysers in the 1970s to determine drink drivers.
  • Over the years, technological advancements shaped modern breathalysers to be more portable and user-friendly.
  • In the 2000s, some devices integrated Bluetooth technology.

Woman blowing to a personal breathalyser device

Is It Worth Buying a Breathalyser – Personal Units

Many individuals are getting a breathalyser for personal use. Modern devices have various styles and features to make breath tests more efficient and accurate. Nevertheless, there are several factors to consider when contemplating buying a breathalyser. Firstly, personal breath testers are more affordable than police devices. This allows them to monitor their BAC during and after alcohol consumption.

Secondly, breathalysers are easy to use. Most devices have a one-touch operation allowing for breath testing in seconds and returning the results immediately. Hence, it allows users to assess their intoxication level and determine their driving ability. If their BAC is near or over the legal limit, they can choose to stop drinking and wait for its decline.

Moreover, personal breathalysers come in two kinds: semiconductor and fuel cell sensors. Semiconductor devices are cheaper and suitable for personal use or quick alcohol screening. On the other hand, fuel cell breathalysers have higher accuracy. They are more specific to ethyl alcohol and do not react with endogenous substances in the breath. Thus, they are less likely to produce false positives.

Preventing Drink Driving

The main purpose of a personal breathalyser is to prevent drink driving. Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious offence that can lead to severe consequences. In addition, imposing hefty fines and longer jail terms aims to deter drinking and driving. To prevent driving charges, individuals should be aware of their blood alcohol concentration.

It is advisable to check the BAC every hour to see the rate of BAC increase. In this way, individuals can make informed decisions regarding their alcohol intake. Some alcohol breathalysers have an alert feature that warns users if their BAC has exceeded the legal limit.

A workplace breathalyser showing a Fail result

Is It Worth Buying a Breathalyser – Workplace Units

Certain industries conduct alcohol screening to monitor impairment among employees. A common question of employers, is it worth buying a breathalyser, or should they just use alcohol testing services? Many companies are using workplace breathalysers so they can test for alcohol anytime. It allows them to check the BAC level if they suspect a person is intoxicated.

Workplace breathalysers that comply with Australian Standard guidelines are reliable and cost-effective. Typically, these accurate devices use advanced fuel cell sensors. Having an onhand unit also enables them to test regularly without high laboratory costs. Therefore, they can efficiently manage alcohol use and minimise alcohol-related hazards in the workplace. Additionally, it helps companies comply with regulatory safety laws.

Breath alcohol testing offers several advantages over other screening methods. A breathalyser is non-invasive and gives quick results. It also gives quantifiable data on the alcohol concentration of a person without depending on laboratory processes. However, employers may conduct further testing to confirm positive results. Overall, they are convenient and cost-effective in monitoring alcohol abuse or impairment.

Overall Impact on Workplace Safety

The use of breathalysers has significantly improved workplace safety and productivity. High-risk industries like mining, construction, and transportation establish alcohol policies to ensure a safe and healthy working environment. It allows employers to screen workers before entering safety-sensitive premises. Furthermore, it helps them detect and eliminate alcohol-related risks such as accidents, injuries, and fatalities.

Regular monitoring helps to deter individuals from excessive alcohol consumption. It allows supervisors to take swift action against those who are violating the policies. As a result, employees are less likely to come to work intoxicated. It is also helpful in preventing and identifying alcohol use disorders.

Conclusion

In conclusion, is it worth buying a breathalyser? Yes, breathalysers promote responsible alcohol consumption and enhance safety. It is widely used in roadside screening to determine individuals who are driving while under the influence. People who exceed the legal limit are subject to legal charges, such as fines, driving disqualification and jail terms. Additionally, many people are using personal units to avoid these consequences. It also helps them make informed decisions.

Another critical use of breathalysers is for workplace safety. It helps employers monitor alcohol-related risks. It is a cost-effective device that is easy to use. Thus, it allows companies to test for alcohol without expensive laboratory fees. Aside from preventing accidents, it can also help identify if a person has alcohol abuse problems. Therefore, employers can make the necessary interventions, such as referring to a rehabilitation program. Personal and workplace breathalysers are reliable in determining alcohol levels.

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