Portable, Cheap, Disposable breathalyzers?

Hey there… It's me. Not a guest post this time. I know updates have been few and far between, but once you get your driving rights back, do your classes, pay your fines… Life is pretty much normal. (Kind of what you wanted to hear, huh?)

So you want to know if you're ok to drive, or if your ignition interlock device (IID) will let you start your car. But you don't want to buy a
BacTrack breathalyzer or anything like that. What do you do?

Well… You have a few options.

The first is the easiest - wait it out. 12 hours after your last drink and you should be able to go… in most cases. If you really tied one on, make it 14 hours. You should definitely be clear after 18, probably. 24 to be safe.

A few bars have breathalyzers in them. Hope that they have a mouthpiece available or let you use a clean straw (the one in your drink is going to be tainted from alcohol) and pay a buck or two and see what the results are.

You can always borrow a friend's… although most people don't have them, or carry them with them.

So what else can you do? How about picking up
some cheap, portable, disposable breath tests? They cost about two bucks each, especially if you buy them in bulk. Put them in your jacket pocket and nobody will know. They look like little vials that are sealed up in plastic (if you're doing other things that come in vials, don't bother, these don't test for that).

Have fun, do whatever, preferably don't drive.

When it's time to take the test, take a break from everyone, go to the bathroom, go outside, whatever… get out your test, it'll look like this…

Pull it out of the sealed plastic - wait until you're ready to take the test to avoid contamination.

Then you're going to squeeze really hard in the middle, with the yellow crystals - there's a glass capsule in there, and you've got to break it. It's pretty sturdy! Squeeze hard, the thick plastic will keep you safe from anything of the glass getting into your fingers.

Then follow the arrows and blow into that side of the tube for 12 seconds. Blow hard.


Your breath will fog up the chamber in the middle, but that's fine. The test will say its tolerance. If it your breath stays under (In this case .02) then the crystals will be yellow. Above, and the crystals will turn a different color.

Here's two that I took - the top is a passed test - my BAC was under .02 (It was 0) and at the bottom, was one after I had a drink and was above .02


Easy to use. Easy to read.

But how much use are they?

Well, if you're planning to go out drinking and drive your car home (Which if you're reading this you should never do because the consequences suck and you're probably here because you had a DUI and you're on probation) you can blow and take the test and see that you're above the threshold of the test. But you don't know how much above. You don't know if you're .3 or .03. If you wanted to track your BAC you'd have to take your bulk supply of test and test yourself every 15-30 minutes till eventually you "pass".

These are mostly used for "zero tolerance" environments. Drug offenders who get tested and punished if they drink at all. Halfway houses. Angry spouses. It paints a very black and white scenario - whether you've had alcohol or not - but that's about it.

It's not without it's uses, but for somebody surviving a DUI and learning about how their body works with alcohol and trying to better every day… I'd rather go with a
real breathalyzer that gives me the most information possible.

That said, if you find use for them, by all means.