Alcohol impairment is one of the leading factors of car crashes and accidents in Australia every year. Hence, reducing road trauma is one of Australia’s primary goals. The strategies include implementing stricter regulations and road monitoring to reduce alcohol-related incidents and serious injuries. Police officers conduct roadside inspections to check for sobriety and determine intoxicated drivers. They use police breathalysers to measure Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) or the per cent of alcohol in the system. In addition, a person is subject to legal penalties if their BAC reaches the legal limit of 0.05% or above. In line with this, an individual can use a personal breathalyser to check their alcohol level before driving.
The greater need for breathalysers continues to ensure safety while driving or working. People use a breathalyser to control their consumption and remain below the alcohol limit. However, health and safety experts note that any amount of alcohol poses driving hazards. Therefore, knowing how alcohol affects your body is important to make informed decisions. You can choose from a wide selection of alcohol testers at Breathalysers Australia for personal needs. Moreover, this guide discusses the effects of alcohol, the benefits and uses of personal breathalysers, and choosing the suitable device.
The Need for a Personal Breathalyser
When consuming alcohol, it gets absorbed quickly into the body through the bloodstream. The blood carries alcohol in vital organs like the heart, brain, and lungs. Within minutes, you may notice the effects such as alcohol odour in the breath, elevated mood, and lowered inhibitions. However, excessive amounts or prolonged consumption causes the BAC to rise to hazardous levels, severely impairing the senses, perception, reflexes, and coordination. Consequently, these impairments can affect the ability to drive safely. Therefore, a personal breathalyser is vital to help avoid the negative consequences of alcohol use. It is a portable electronic device that anybody can use to measure the quantity of alcohol through an exhaled breath.
Individuals use a personal breathalyser for various purposes. Many consider the breathalyser an informational tool to monitor their drinking limits and prevent adverse health impacts. Additionally, many people use a breath analyser for the following reasons:
- Keep from exceeding the legal alcohol limit for driving
- Check the BAC before working, especially in a high-risk workplace
- Precautionary tool to avoid accidents
- Know how different alcoholic beverages affect the body
- Monitor the decline of the BAC
- Minimise high intoxication or severe impairment
Understanding the Blood Alcohol Content
Alcoholic beverages contain ethanol, a depressant substance that affects the central nervous system. It also causes the Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) to increase. The BAC is the metric system used in measuring how much alcohol is in the bloodstream. It is calculated in grams for every 100ml of blood. For example, a 0.05% BAC equals 0.05g per 100ml of blood. The higher the BAC level, the more intoxicated a person becomes. Moreover, each person reacts differently to alcohol. Thus, it is difficult to determine the exact intoxication level without a precise method. Fortunately, a personal breathalyser efficiently measures the BAC on the go and gives real-time results. Additionally, several factors influence the BAC. It includes the following:
- Body composition: weight and body fat distribution impact the BAC. Generally, people with a smaller stature and more body fat will likely experience intoxication quicker.
- Gender: women tend to have a higher body fat proportion than men of the same weight. In addition, hormonal differences between men and women may affect alcohol metabolism.
- Age: as the person age, the capacity to process alcohol becomes slower.
- Alcohol concentration: each type of drink has various alcohol content.
- Medications: prescription drugs and other substances can react with alcohol and overstate the BAC.
- Stomach contents: more food in the stomach can help slow the processing and absorption of alcohol.
Kinds of Personal Breathalysers and How They Work
Many people limit their intake by counting the number of drinks. However, since each beverage type contains different alcohol content, it can have various effects on the BAC. Likewise, relying on a guess estimate does not guarantee that it will not exceed the legal limit. It may also lead to a false sense of security that one can drive responsibly. An excellent way to check the BAC is to use a personal breathalyser. Personal breathalysers use two kinds of sensors: semiconductor and fuel cell sensors. Semiconductor breathalysers use a tin oxide compound to measure the level of alcohol in the breath. Then, it produces a small electrical current when it contacts alcohol. The change in resistance in the semiconductors translates to BAC. However, their sensitivity varies according to the atmosphere, temperature, and other alcohol vapours.
The second type of personal breathalyser sensor is the fuel cell. The breathalysers rely on an electrochemical process to oxidise alcohol. As exhaled air passes through the fuel cell sensors, the platinum electrodes produce acetic acid, protons, and electrons. The strength of the current corresponds to the volume of alcohol present in the sample. The fuel cell sensors are more precise because they only react to ethanol. Therefore, it is less likely to produce false-positive readings, especially for people with diabetes or on a low-calorie diet. Additionally, it holds the accuracy longer and requires less frequent recalibration.
Personal Breathalysers: Interpreting the BAC Results
Individuals use a personal breathalyser to know their current intoxication level. Breathalysers Australia offers reliable BACtrack breathalysers that provide an objective assessment to determine how impaired a person is. Thus, understanding the BAC results can help deter drink driving and improve consumption behaviour. Varying alcohol concentration levels in the system have the following effects:
- 0.010-0.039%: euphoric sensations, relaxation, and less inhibition and alertness
- 0.040-0.059%: minor impairment in senses and reasoning; sleepiness; lowering of caution
- 0.060-0.099%: impairment in vision, hearing, speech, reflexes, memory, and coordination
- 0.100-0.299%: significant impairment in motor functions; nausea and vomiting
- 0.300-0.399%: alcohol poisoning, unconsciousness, or coma
- 0.400 and above: potentially fatal
Guide to Choosing the Right Breathalyser
An effective personal breathalyser can give reliable BAC data to help improve long-term health and safety. Breathalysers come in many sizes and features that affect the device’s performance. Therefore, many people take careful consideration when choosing a device. The following are vital aspects of a breathalyser:
- Sensor accuracy: semiconductor and fuel cell breathalysers vary greatly in sensor performance. Fuel cell breathalysers remain consistent and are more accurate than semiconductor testers because they do not react to substances other than ethanol. You may check the unit’s sensor accuracy when buying. The highest accuracy rating for a breathalyser is +/-0.005% BAC.
- Ease of use: breath testing devices should be easy to operate, especially if a person feels mild intoxication. Modern breathalysers like the BACtrack from BACtrack Australia are portable, making them convenient to carry around and use. The BACtrack breathalyser has a one-touch operation to use the device with a single push of a button.
- Cost: semiconductor breathalysers are generally cheaper than fuel cell breathalysers. In addition, breathalysers with more functionalities for increased accuracy have higher costs.
- Recalibration: choose a breathalyser from a provider that offers full recalibration services rather than do-it-yourself to ensure reliability.
- Certification: certified breathalysers mean they meet the standards and guidelines for an effective breath screening device.
The Accuracy of Personal Breathalysers
Breathalysers are now almost entirely automated and built to be practical. A personal breathalyser is an excellent device to maintain self-awareness of how your body responds to alcohol. It is also helpful to minimise the associated risks of alcohol misuse in many settings like the workplace. Therefore, the accuracy of breathalysers is critical to health and safety. Most BACtrack personal breathalysers at BACtrack Australia utilise fuel cell sensor technology to precisely measure alcohol levels. The BACtrack fuel cell breathalysers have pro-grade accuracy, similar to the breath testers that police officers use in roadside screenings. Additionally, fuel cell sensors are not prone to external factors that may impact a breathalyser, such as paint fumes or alcohol-based products. As a result, it can help avoid drink driving penalties, especially when monitoring the BAC to stay below the legal limit.
The Advantages of Pro-grade Breathalysers
Law enforcement use advanced breathalysers to determine whether a person is driving under the influence of alcohol. Random alcohol breath tests have helped reduced road accidents and fatalities by removing intoxicated drivers off the road. Police breathalysers utilise fuel cell sensors to estimate a person’s BAC accurately. Fortunately, you may also avail a personal breathalyser with police-grade accuracy for the most valid breath test results. Fuel cell breathalysers have the following advantages:
- Less probability of false-positive results.
- More consistent outcomes when taking a breath test repeatedly.
- Perform accurately at higher BAC concentrations.
- Maintain optimum performance for up to thousands of tests.
- Can display the BAC results up to three decimal places for more precise readings.
Personal Breathalysers at Breathalysers Australia
Breathalysers Australia offers wide options of BACtrack devices for individual use. Many select a personal breathalyser based on budget, prominent features, or sensor technology. For instance, a fuel cell breathalyser will suit you if you depend on high accuracy. Each unit has distinct properties serving various needs and preferences. First and foremost, Breathalysers Australia presents the BACtrack Pro Series. They are premier breathalysers featuring the advanced Xtend fuel cell sensors. These sensors have a linear response to give more reliable results over the complete range of alcohol concentrations. Hence, it can measure trace concentrations of alcohol from 0.000 to 0.400% BAC without losing accuracy. They also include continuous temperature checking to ensure breath sample consistency and low power requirement. The BACtrack Pro breathalysers are the following:
The BACtrack Pro series are FDA-approved and DOT-compliant devices. They have undergone rigorous testing from independent parties and meet all federal requirements of a breathalyser. In particular, according to alcohol tester reviews, the S80 Pro personal breathalyser is the closest to the results of police breathalysers. It also has adjustable settings, such as longer blow time and stronger blow strength for better precision. In addition, the BACtrack Scout, Trace Pro and Trace Pro Gen2 have a memory system if you need to recall previous BAC readings. Finally, the breathalysers can alert you if you have exceeded the pre-set alcohol limit.
The Features of Smartphone Breathalysers
The smartphone breathalysers of Breathalysers Australia offer innovative features for more efficient breath testing. The BACtrack Mobile Pro, C6 Keychain, and C8 Smartphone have wireless capabilities through Bluetooth. Thus, it can deliver the BAC results directly on the mobile phone’s screen. The BACtrack C6 and C8 personal breathalysers have optional Bluetooth connectivity through the “dual-mode” operation. For example, the Standalone mode lets you view the BAC results on the easy-to-read OLED screen. Alternatively, the App mode connects to a smartphone to receive BAC data. Moreover, the BACtrack app can record and track a person’s alcohol use patterns. You may also save and personalise the BAC results by writing notes or adding images to help you better understand how alcohol affects you.
One of the valuable features of the BACtrack smartphone breathalysers is the ZeroLine technology. It quickly estimates how long the BAC will return to 0.00% based on the last consumption or reading. This feature is available through the app or through the device itself on the BACtrack C8. As a result, you will know exactly when your full sobriety will return. Personal breathalysers with smartphone connectivity help many individuals stay informed and control their alcohol consumption. You may also share your results with a family member for peace of mind. Moreover, the app integrates with Apple Health tools and a ride-sharing app to help book a ride when you need to take an alternative transportation mode. The BACtrack app is compatible with most iOS and Android devices.
The Reliability of the BACtrack MicroCheck Breathalyser
The BACtrack Go Keychain is the smallest and most affordable breath testing device in Breathalysers Australia. It is a popular personal breathalyser because of its compact size and convenience. Furthermore, it utilises the advanced MicroCheck semiconductor sensor of BACtrack to give reliable BAC readings. The semiconductor sensors undergo a patented burn-in process to measure the amount of alcohol in the breath. The advanced sensing technology and specially tuned algorithm can deliver more precise results than the standard semiconductor breathalysers. Likewise, the device has a mouthpiece that folds away to protect the sensors when not in use. Hence, it keeps out fumes and external pollutants that may affect the breath tests. They are ideal if you need at-home alcohol screening or low-volume use.
Guidelines in Operating a Personal Breathalyser
Breath testing devices let you determine blood alcohol levels without using costly laboratory methods or services. A personal breathalyser is a simple device that is operated by anyone easily. However, properly using a breathalyser is vital in ensuring valid and accurate BAC tests. Firstly, it is necessary to wait 15 to 20 minutes after eating, smoking, or drinking before taking a breath test. The waiting period gives the body enough time to process alcohol and reach the lungs. It also minimises mouth alcohol from interfering with the results. You may effectively complete an alcohol breath test with a BACtrack breathalyser following this simple guideline:
- Press the power button to activate the sensors.
- Take a deep breath and exhale continuously at the blow signal until the end of the beeping sound.
- Wait for the device to process the breath sample and display the BAC within 10 to 15 seconds.
- The breathalyser will alert an error message if the provided breath sample is insufficient. In this case, wait for a few seconds to take a retest.
Personal breathalysers are sensitive equipment, and the sensors may accumulate alcohol residue over time. The build-up of alcohol in the sensors may affect the accuracy causing it to give inconsistent BAC readings. Therefore, ensure that you send your unit in time for recalibration. Each breathalyser requires periodic maintenance based on duration or volume of use. Register your BACtrack breathalysers at Breathalysers Australia online to notify you when your device is due for servicing.
Personal Breathalyser: Myths Busted
Over the years of alcohol breath testing, many misconceptions surface about tricking a personal breathalyser into reducing the BAC. Many have tried it in front of police officers to no avail. Modern breathalysers like the BACtrack use advanced sensing technology to measure the BAC accurately and minimise interference. The following are the common breathalyser myths and the truth about them:
- Eating mints or using mouthwash – chewing mints, gums, mouthwashes, or breath sprays may mask alcohol odour but will not reduce the BAC.
- Burping during the test – some people believe burping will cause the breathalyser to register the gas from the stomach instead of the air in the lungs. Burping does not have an impact on a breath test.
- Sucking on a penny, piece of garlic, or peanut butter – this myth originated based on pennies containing copper. Sucking on a penny or garlic is said to create a chemical reaction that will negate a high BAC. However, it does not have scientific grounds, and police officers ascertain you have nothing in your mouth before administering the test.
- Holding your breath or hyperventilating – holding the breath can actually increase the BAC because of the time alcohol has to diffuse in the lungs. Likewise, hyperventilating or exercising to sweat alcohol out cannot speed up the decrease of the BAC.
- Drinking coffee – coffee may help you feel more awake when driving but will not affect the breathalyser test results.
Drink Driving in Australia
Impaired or drink driving has resulted in many road accidents and casualties. Severe impairment can blur vision and slow reaction time. Therefore, alcohol intoxication poses a great hazard. Due to their heavy consequences, drink driving is a serious offence in Australia with heavy penalties. The penalties include fines, imprisonment, license disqualification, and alcohol interlock for repeat offenders. In addition, each state or territory in Australia has specific drink driving laws and corresponding charges. For example, the penalties will depend on your BAC range and if it is your first or subsequent offence. Fortunately, alcohol-related incidents are preventable risks through responsible drinking and driving. Individuals can avoid high intoxication by monitoring their BAC with a personal breathalyser every hour. Therefore, they can ensure their alcohol levels are at a minimum.
Other Uses of a Personal Breathalyser
The number of alcohol-related incidents increases the need for a personal breathalyser. Many individuals want to avoid drink driving charges and potential accidents by checking their alcohol level before leaving. For instance, if your BAC is high, you can slow down or stop your intake and wait for your alcohol level to decline. Unfortunately, the negative impacts of alcohol use are not limited to driving. Alcohol misuse also affects the health and safety of employees in the workplace. It is one of the leading causes of workplace incidents, resulting in serious injuries, high expenses, and low productivity. Consequently, high-risk industries implement zero-alcohol tolerance policies to minimise alcohol-related impacts at work.
Employees can ensure sobriety by checking their BAC level with a personal breathalyser like BACtrack before work. On the other hand, individuals coping with Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) use a personal breathalyser while undergoing treatment to prevent relapse and reestablish their accountability. For example, smartphone breathalysers like the BACtrack Mobile Pro can send the BAC results directly to a physician monitoring the treatment. Lastly, breathalysers are useful in child custody cases and for individuals under probation.
Knowing your BAC level is possible, thanks to the accessibility of modern personal breathalysers. The BACtrack devices from Breathalysers Australia are efficient BAC monitoring tools to keep you from the perils of drink driving. Breathalysers Australia offers a comprehensive selection of robust alcohol testers to help avoid legal charges or untoward incidents. The BACtrack breathalysers fit various alcohol testing needs, preferences, and budgets. You may select from an array of keychains, smartphones, and professional-grade devices for your breath testing needs. Moreover, they have efficient one-button operations for quick and easy use. The BACtrack breathalysers have an optimal breath capture system to get precise air samples. In conclusion, you can get reliable and efficient BAC testing devices at Breathalysers Australia.