Which Personal Breathalyser?

Hi OZB family,

Myself and the wife enjoy a few drinks and usually she is the one to drive home, which I'm trying to take the reigns on. I will be going through the process of counting drinks etc, however would like the peace of mind that a little breathalyser would definitely help with. Any decent ones out there that aren't just Dr Phil certified (doesn't instill much confidence)?

There isn't too many breathalyser bargains posted over the years so keen to get some real feedback before I bite the bullet on one.

Cheers!

Comments

  • +5 votes

    It's been a long time since I've looked into these things. They were quite interesting for a while.

    The reason is that they require calibration after amount of uses/time (that often costs more than the unit itself) and they cannot be relied on in court. If it gives too big a difference in the result that you expect, you won't believe it. It it's too close to the "limit", the sensible thing to do will be to err on the side of caution and not drive anyway. So better to save your money and just not to drink and drive or to wait it out after a drink or two.

  • +1 vote

    if you get into the $250+ price range the accuracy actually gets pretty good, this is from experience. Obviously it's not calibrated so will have to be taken with a grain of salt and don't be surprised if you blow a different number if breathalysed.

    They are good indicators though.

    •  

      Obviously it's not calibrated so will have to be taken with a grain of salt and don't be surprised if you blow a different number if breathalysed.

      This is why they are pretty pointless.

      •  

        Not really,
        Yes they won't really hold up in court, but in my experience with a $300 one they can get within 0.001 of the actual number - was breathalysed shortly after.

  • +3 votes

    I have this one https://www.supercheapauto.com.au/p/alcolimit-alcolimit-defe...

    I often go out on the weekend and my rule is pretty much to not drive until about 12 hours after my last drink. I’ve used mine to get a good idea of what I’m sitting at where I need to drive eg morning after when camping or away with friends.

    In general if I go out, I get a Uber both ways. Not worth the risk.

    In terms of getting the unit calibrated, it needs to be done every ~12 months and costs about $45.

    • +1 vote

      my rule is pretty much to not drive until about 12 hours after my last drink.

      Good move. If I have a couple I'll drive after a couple hours, but if more then just abandon driving for the night even if it goes for a longer while without drinks. Yeah, might be under the limit, but drinking takes it's toll in other ways too - just feel more tired, etc.

      IMO with booze if you need to worry about limits / cops at all then you're not in the best state to drive. Plus it takes the fun out of the drinks too.

  • +2 votes

    I wouldn't rely on any, although some comments above do recount personal experiences.
    I'm happier limiting my drinks to barely anything alcoholic if I'm driving. That works pretty well and hasn't cost me anything.

    • +1 vote

      I'm in this camp. I too thought I needed a device to measure, but after keeping track over a couple of years, there has never been an occasion where I have planned to drive home, and had a planned maximum number of drinks to stay within the limit where I had any doubt about my ability to drive.
      On an occasion I was breath tested and returned a nil result.

      The only time this would be useful is if I had consumed so much alcohol I was uncertain if I should be driving - which right there is the red flag to put the keys away!

  • +2 votes

    How about just not drinking and driving? If you're having to rely on a breathalyser to know whether you're under 0.05 or not, then you're really pushing it IMO. Are you trying to just avoid a fine, or are you actually trying to get home safely? Think about that.

    I personally think that many of our road rules are too strict, but definitely not when it comes to alcohol. Even at 0.05, the most important requirements for driving - e.g. reaction time, spontaneous decision making, hand-eye coordination…etc. are all significantly reduced.

    Most people probably feel fine to drive when ~0.05, but the question is whether you're still fine to react to unexpected dangers that pop up. Can you avoid a pedestrian or animal jumping out onto the road, can you regain control if your tyres slip, can you react quickly enough at an intersection when you see a car coming at you…etc. All of these reactions are seriously impaired even at 0.05, so whilst you might get home fine when the drive's nice and easy, that won't always be the case.

    I'm not trying to lecture and berate - there are so many options these days. It's not like the 70s. Uber is cheap, there are plenty of alternatives, you can easily call a ride from an app with minimal fuss and they arrive promptly and quickly.

    •  

      I still think uber is expensive… =(

      • +1 vote

        cheaper than going to court/seriously hurting yourself/others.

    •  

      Thanks for the detailed response, I think it's admirable to have someone give a shit about others on the road and I respect that. The way I see it, this device could be used as an extra safety method, eg. day after new years/leaving a festival etc, who is ok to drive? Does everyone need to stay put for a bit? Just an extra method of safety especially when I've seen so many disregard these things. I could have been more detailed about this in the post but decided to see what the general consensus was and what devices people used (if at all).

      • +1 vote

        The way I see it, this device could be used as an extra safety method, eg. day after new years/leaving a festival etc, who is ok to drive? Does everyone need to stay put for a bit?

        Again, this is all predicated on the idea that it's all about avoiding a fine, which I personally think is the wrong way to approach the problem. 0.05 is a really arbitrary number, do you really think that 0.051 is unsafe to drive but 0.049 is safe? If you're just going to use a machine to tell you whether you're 0.051 or 0.049, then you're just trying to avoid a fine because the driving ability of both is the same (i.e. pretty bad).

        Also, I've tried this with a few mates for a bit of fun, but play a racing game (even Mario Kart) at the start of the night. Then play it again a bit later when everyone's had a few drinks, but still "feeling fine". If you're sober, you'll realise how seriously bad everyone gets even whilst still mildly drunk (and many of them claim to be able to drive just fine at that level). It's not just that they become worse drivers, but they start to make some really dumb decisions and take stupid risks (whether they'll do that in the real world is an open question, but being drunk increases that chance).

        Once you see how incompetent drunk people are at doing things that require hand-eye coordination and quick reflexes/reactions, you'll never get in a car with a drunk person again, not even your wife who might be at 0.049. I had many friends who thought I was just being a prude, but after we played that game, they all agreed with me.

  •  

    Thanks for the feedback everyone, it appears the abstinence method appears to be a main point to be made and definitely understand the rationale. I've actually been playing around with the non alco beers of late and they might be the best option if I'm looking for a drink/drive scenario.

    The reasoning for my post is that having a device sitting in the glovebox at whatever time isn't detrimental and I'm just exploring it as an idea.

    • +1 vote

      To a social situation, I usually take Heineken 0.0 as it looks like I'm just drinking a beer and (to me) it is closely aligned with the taste of a mid-full strength beer.

      It is all personal taste, but if your preference is for craft beers, I recommend:
      https://sobah.com.au/

  •  

    If you want to experiment, the old fashioned chemical straw versions are still available.
    Single use, obviously, but if you want to see if it is useful before spending hundreds…

    I do think you will find it best not to drive if you are uncertain of your limit, even if you can do a point in time test.

  • +1 vote

    As an ozbargainer, wouldn't the most cost efficient thing to do be not to drink if you are the skipper?

    Such a simple personal rule that is easy to administer can save hundreds and remove any exposure to even worse consequences.