How accurate are personal breathalyzers?

Breathalyzers aren’t just for law enforcement anymore. With advancement in technology, a variety of personal breathalyzers are now available to the public for personal use. Because it can help you make the responsible decision.

There are two main types of personal breathalyzers on the market -semiconductor-based or fuel cell-based. Although not as accurate or reliable as their fuel cell counterparts, semiconductor breathalyzers — offer users a more affordable means to gauge their BAC.

personal breathalyzers

There are many factors that can have an influence on the results of a breathalyzer test. Some of those factors are:

Human or device error–Machines may be used incorrectly, it will require attention to detail by the officer using it.

No calibration–Calibration is required periodically, so the machine maintains its accuracy.

Environmental factors or some products–Some false results may be given if there are things like chemicals, paint fumes; Usage of mouthwash, breath spray or other products containing alcohol will falsely raise test results.

One thing to keep in mind: results are most accurate if you haven’t had any food or alcohol for at least 20 minutes prior to testing.

Breathalyzers estimate BAC based on a breath sample, and will not be as accurate as when a sample of blood is tested for alcohol content. However, fuel cell breathalyzers are highly accurate if calibrated according to the manufacturer’s recommendations. When used correctly, breathalyzers provide a very close estimate of our BAC.


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