While researching current updates on breathalyzers, I came across this sales pitch for a “personal” model. Frankly, it is difficult to imagine a market for such a device. But, the sales information was very revealing as to how utterly unreliable these “alcohol breath testing” machines really are.  I have highlighted those sections which are essentially disclaimers. See for yourself. Here’s the article I found:

“If you’ve been searching for the best breathalyzer to suit your personal alcohol tester needs, here are a few considerations you should keep in mind before buying.

The best breathalyzer for any individual who wants to test their blood alcohol content (BAC) on a regular basis is one with a fuel cell sensor. The fuel cell sensor technology is normally found on professional breathalyzer devices. The reason a fuel cell model is considered the best breathalyzer technology is due to it’s superior accuracy over other breathalyzer sensors such as the semiconductor. While the professional breathalyzer is created for professional use by law enforcement, clinics and other professional environments, many models are FDA 501(k) approved for sale and use by the general public.

Generally speaking, the fuel cell breathalyzers range in price from approximately $120 to upwards of $400. Although with that said, the better semiconductor models are near the $100 price level so it may, in some cases, make more sense to go with the professional grade breathalyzer.

The greater accuracy of the professional, fuel cell (or best) breathalyzer is partially dependent on the sensor’s ability to detect the difference between alcohol and higher acetone levels which can be found in individuals with diabetes or those on low-calorie diets. Also, professional breathalyzers feature the ability to give the same result on the same individual when testing repeatedly. In other words, if the same person blows into the mouthpiece in test after test, the results will be similar more often from a fuel cell sensor than a semiconductor model.

The best breathalyzer for your needs will also depend on the device’s ability to pull in an adequate deep lung breath sample. Many professional and personal breathalyzers feature a built “fan” of sorts that will pull the sample in and thus assure the proper deep lung sample is acquired. Many will also beep or otherwise alert the testing individual if the sample is incomplete and testing needs to be repeated.

Finding the best breathalyzer for your needs may also depend on recalibration requirements. The majority of both personal breathalyzer and professional breathalyzer models need to be returned to the manufacturer after a number of tests so that they can be re-calibrated and shipped back. This is usually done ever 1,000 tests (some don’t require recalibration for 1,500 tests) at a cost of about $30-$50. For individuals, it’s likely that the recalibration needs will be a lot less than those devices used for professional use. Either way, it is important, for the greatest accuracy that the devices are re-calibrated and that testing is done as directed by the manufacturer.”

As you can see, the manufacturers tell the buying public that their devices are not fool-proof.  In fact, the results are very dependent on a number of variables.  And this is with a brand new breathalyzer right out of the box.  With these very difficult economic times, almost every county and city police department budget is under review.  There are simply no funds for new equipment, and I fear not enough money for proper maintenance of the equipment they have.  Nevertheless, courts and legislatures currently allow breathalyzer results into evidence and treat them as absolutely accurate without serious question.  I am reminded that “lie detector” tests were similarly accepted for years but are no longer deemed reliable enough for prosecution. I hope that one day the “breathalyzer” will go the way of the “lie detector.”  The only truly accurate test is a blood alcohol test performed by a licensed health professional and certified lab facilities.

If you are arrested for suspicion of drunk driving (DUI / DWI), ask for a blood alcohol test and then consult an experienced DUI / DWI attorney. At Reeves, Aiken & Hightower LLP, our attorneys have over 70 years of combined trial experience in both civil and criminal courts.  We focus our criminal practice on DUI and DWI cases in both South Carolina and North Carolina and are available by mobile phone in the evenings, on weekends, and even holidays. We are not afraid to go to Court and often do. Don’t settle for a lawyer who only wants to try to reduce your DUI charge to reckless driving.  Compare our attorneys’ credentials to any other firm. Then call us for a private consultation of your case. www.rjrlaw.com