There are things you want and things you need; when a potential gift (whether to yourself or a friend) can fulfill both, that’s a rare thing. If you haven’t been charged with a DWI (driving while intoxicated) before, you may not know that in many states drivers are required by law to have a Breathalyzer installed in their car. This is, of course, after serving any jail or prison time, completing classes, community service or other punishments dictated by the judge.
In order to start the car, the person must blow into the Breathalyzer to “prove” that they’re sober. However, there are also Breathalyzer which are much less expensive and don’t necessarily have to be hooked up to your ignition. As cheap as $40 and upwards of $500, there’s truly an option for just about any budget. They’re often given away as party favors and gag gifts for events like 21st birthdays, bachelor parties or other raucous events.
However, they can serve a very real purpose.
What the professionals have to say
Hopefully you’ll never be in the position to be forced to have a Breathalyzer installed in your car. If, however, you are charged with a DWI, it’s crucial to get the proper legal representation immediately. You should also know the basics of what to do when pulled over and an officer suspects a DWI situation even if you haven’t been drinking at all. Know that DWI tests are completely optional, so never submit to one even if you haven’t been drinking.
If you have imbibed a little, having your own personal Breathalyzer on hand can help you determine if it’s safe to drive. However, don’t take the results as gospel. Breathalyzers can get it wrong, regardless of how much they cost or the quality. Alternately, you might blow a lower figure earlier in the night if the alcohol hasn’t “settled” into your bloodstream yet. Consider it one of many tools to gauge your intoxication levels (as well as a great way to entertain at the bar).
Should you get one?
It depends. Springing for an affordable model can provide unique insight into your drinking habits. You can also figure out how buzzed you actually feel below, at and above the legal drinking limit. However, it shouldn’t be used as a tool to manipulate the system, which can put you and everyone else on the road in danger. Breathalyzers are fun and can be helpful, but they’re not a means of avoiding a DWI.
With bars offering them, mini options for keychains and a variety of features offered depending on which gadget you get, it certainly beats asking what a person does as an icebreaker. However, remember there are false results even on court-ordered devices, so tread carefully.