With the new Scottish Drink Driving limit
almost half what it used to be (and still is in England & Wales)
most people who are out and drinking won't be driving home. Or
they'll stay at home instead, where they can party without being
worried about the drive back.
what about the next morning?
Even under the old limits almost 1 in 5 Drink
Driving Convictions were the result of drivers stopped "the morning
after"; with the new limit this figure is likely to rise
considerably - unless everyone simply doesn't drink at all for at
least 24 hours before driving. Unlikely.
So what CAN you do to make sure you are
OK to drive before you set off in the morning?
There are essentially four choices:
1. Give up drinking altogether - or at least leave at least 12 hours
after drinking more than a couple of pints.
2. Use a Digital Breathalyser to measure your alcohol level (but at
just 50mg/l, make sure it's accurate enough - see
Use an AlcoDigital Scottish Disposable Breathalyser to check before
you go. If the colour changes - Don't Drive.
4. Just take a chance and guess. (not
There are many who are quite
happy to simply not drink at all - but they're probably not reading
this article. And there's nothing wrong with a few
drinks so long as you're not still impaired when you get behind the
wheel of a car - but without a breathalyser, at the new lower
Scottish Limit it's very difficult to just guess when you're fit to
drive. The Daily Mail recently did a test with five different
women using and AlcoDigital Platinum to check their actual levels -
and it proved once and for all that it's impossible to simply count
units and then expect your liver to metabolise the alcohol at a set
rate. Everyone is different, and most people vary from day to
OK - you've decided a
Breathalyzer is a good idea, but how do you decide what to buy?
Disposables are cheap (just £1.99 each) and
simple to use - but they won't give you an accurate "reading" as
such. To actually measure the level of alcohol in your body you need
a Digital Breathalyser - which
come with two different types of sensors - Semi-conductors
(cheap, but not that accurate) and Fuel
Cells (the same as the Police use).
- how do they work?
The tubes are supplied with a bag which the user inflates with a
single breath. They then connect the tube, and expel the air
from the bag through the tube. After 2 minutes, they can read
the result by looking at whether the green colouration has passed
The kits are accurate enough to pass French Government testing,
but making a judgement about exactly how down the tube the crystals
have changed colour should be done with caution.
If ANY of the crystals change colour,
then there IS alcohol in your blood; for safety we would therefore
if in doubt, DO NOT DRIVE.
Digital Breathalysers - just how
accurate are they?
A typical £60 Semi-Conductor Breathalyser
is accurate to within +/- 0.02%. That sounds REALLY accurate,
doesn't it? But what it actually means is that if the
breathalyser displays a reading of 0.04%, then your real
body alcohol level I be as little as 0.02%.... but it could also
be as high as 0.06%. And OVER the new
Scottish limit of 0.05%. In otherwords, the result
could be out by as much as 50% either way. Not quite what you
thought it meant? Probably not; you thought you were OK - in
fact you're not.
A Personal Fuel Cell Breathalyser
will be at least four times more accurate - to within +/- 0.005%
(All AlcoDigital-branded Breathalysers are at least as good
as this). Fuel Cell Sensors are always used in Police
Breathalysers and give much more accurate and consistent results
than semi-conductors. So if you see a reading of 0.04% on your
Fuel Cell Breathalyser, you know that the actual level of
alcohol in your body is between 0.035% and 0.045% - a difference of
just over 10% either way. Better?
Breathalysers work on the same principle but they simply
use bigger, more sophisticated fuel cells and typical accuarcy
from a Police Breathalyser would be as little as +/- 0.002% -
but they cost a lot more - around £800+.
The exception is the AlcoDigital 3000
- Outright Winner of the What Car Breathalyser test, it's
the only personal breathalyser available in the UK today that
actually uses the exact same sensor/technology as a current UK
Police Breathalyser - the Draeger 6510. It's not cheap
compared with a semiconductor from one of the high street stores,
but it IS the best you can get and for many people well worth the
peace of mind - considering the cost of losing your licence.