A Penny for Your Breathalyzer Reading

Picture it – you’re driving home from the local tavern, flipping through the iPod for that “Closing Time” song. You’ve only had a couple drinks, and you’re sound as a pound, as the Brits say. Next thing you know, the inside of your car is splashed with blue and red light.

Holy sheep! Your mind reels. Then, your remember a story your college roomy told you about getting pulled over after having drunk a whole case of Old Swill, and a mouthful of pennies saved the day when the officer initiated a Breathalyzer test. You start digging around in the consol, looking for loose change as your car veers over left-of-center …

What part of any of this sounds even remotely wise?

Aside from the fact that this fairytale is based on the copper content of pennies, and that most pennies found today are made of zinc, it and every other notion of tricking a Breathalyzer are false. That said, Breathalyzer tests are not without fault.

Recently lowered legal limits in British Columbia (from 0.08 to 0.05 blood alcohol content) have brought renewed tension, and attention, to the Breathalyzer accuracy debate there and in the US. The devices, which are the same as those used in the States, have been found to have a plus or minus 10-milligram degree of error, which leaves room for doubt for those who have only had one or two drinks.

Another dispute is whether it is fair to employ “secret” Breathalyzers in the form of clipboards or flashlights that are placed in the driver’s face before she or he gives consent.

In any event, given the strictness of state driving laws and the ever-growing technology in allowable testing devices, it seems clear that not testing the test is the best policy.


Of course, I should remind everyone that our blog entries are for your information only and are not intended as medical advice. Because everyone is different, you should work with your medical professional to determine what’s best for you. If you’re going to drink, do it legally and responsibly; don’t be stupid. Drinkwel is the world’s first daily multivitamin for healthy people who drink alcohol. For more info, check out our site: www.drinkwel.com.

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