As reported by, wall-mounted breathalyzer units, like the Alco-Buddy and the Breath Tester, are popping up in California establishments that serve alcohol.

These devices are marketed to be for “entertainment purposes only,” and their ability to prevent California DUI is debatable.

The Upside

The breathalyzers are educational. Most California drivers have never used a breathalyzer and have no idea how their blood alcohol content (BAC) may be influenced by the number of drinks they consume.

“People are often surprised by how little it takes to register a .08,” Heston, the Breath Tester distributor, told a reporter. “So it is serving to raise people’s awareness of their own limits and knowing when they need to call for a designated driver.”

Even if considered a novelty, the breathalyzer machines do serve as a reminder not to drink and drive.

The Downside

The machines may also provide a false sense of security for individuals who score a low BAC reading and are planning to drive. In some cases, this could lead to a California DUI arrest.

First, it takes a certain amount of time for alcohol to fully metabolize in the body; therefore, if you use the breathalyzer before the alcohol has completely metabolized, your BAC could rise above the legal limit as you are driving home.

Second, the breathalyzer machines installed in California bars are most often not as accurate as those used by California law enforcement as they do not use the same technology. In addition, the bar patron must use the device properly to get the most accurate result, which may not always be the case if the individual has had a lot to drink.

Finally, there will always be a few bar patrons that will use the breathalyzer machines for unintended purposes-namely, to see who can score the highest BAC.

If you are planning to drink, it is best to plan for a designated driver. However, if you are having one or two drinks at one of these California bars, and are curious about how they might affect your BAC, you may want to give the machines a try.

If you or someone you know has been arrested for suspicion of driving under the influence in California, contact our California DUI attorneys today.

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