What Is A Breathalyzer? Facts You Should Know

The majority of traffic accidents are caused by the driver’s loss of focus and control when driving. Therefore drinking alcohol and other types of liquors before driving is strictly banned worldwide. 

However, you may wonder how the officers can detect the alcohol substance in your body. This is when the Breathalyzers can prove their effectiveness.

So what is a breathalyzer? In short, it is a device used to measure the proportion of alcohol in your blood or the BAC (blood alcohol content). 

It can also be used in medical fields to spot viruses via your breath. 

If the officers find out that your body is under the effect of alcohol when driving, they will charge you with heavy fines. It is a measure to reduce the number of accidents relating to alcohol.

What Is A Breathalyzer? 

The breathalyzer is a special device used to detect alcohol and other viruses in human blood. The device tests the alcohol content of drivers via their breath.

The first breathalyzers were introduced in 1967 in the UK. It can detect the alcohol in your breath via a series of complicated chemical reactions. 

Although the Breathalyzers can measure the BAC or the alcohol content in your blood, they don’t require actual blood samples to perform the test. You just need to breathe in this device to check how much liquor you have consumed. 

What Is A Breathalyzer?

There are two universal types of Breathalyzers. The common ones used in alcohol tests on the streets are hand-held breathalyzers of small sizes.

Police officers have the right to arrest you based on the results of this breathalyzer type. For more accurate results to convict a drunk driver, the police will use large-size breathalyzers in the stations. 

This device has been approved and allowed to be used by police officers in many countries worldwide. The results produced by breathalyzers can be used as reliable court evidence. 

According to the law, suspicious drivers who refuse to take the breathalyzer test will be charged with crimes and fined heavily.

An Alcohol Test

Why Do We Need The Breathalyzer?

Drunk driving is against the law because it can weaken your mind and make you lose focus behind the wheel. Therefore the law has established an alcohol limit that drivers must comply with when driving. 

Even if you know a driver has consumed alcohol before driving, you cannot charge him as violating the law without solid evidence. The breathalyzers are a universal way to give police officers the ability to test and arrest drunk drivers. 

This device offers an accurate and simple method to test one person’s alcohol content in the blood. As a result, drunk drivers will be forced to stop driving and face heavy fines such as deprivation of driving license.

In this way, people will respect the law more and avoid drinking before joining the street. Law violated drivers cannot come up with excuses or ways to avoid the legal charge against them.

Traffic Accident

How Do  Breathalyzers Work?

As the liquor has volatility, a small proportion of alcohol substances will come out with your breath. Therefore the Breathalyzer can detect the BAC via human breath samples. 

General hand-held breathalyzers consist of an anode and cathode. The anode will detect ethanol or liquor substances and generate electrical currents when you breathe in this device. 

The higher the proportion of ethanol in your blood, the stronger the electrical currents. The Breathalyzer may not produce as accurate results as a blood sample test.

The device may detect people with some special body conditions, such as abnormal acetone with higher BAC than usual. However, these cases are very rare, and you will be fine as long as you don’t consume liquors before driving.

Steps To Take A Breathalyzer Alcohol Test

Generally, the police officer will help you take the alcohol test, but it is best if you understand how to use a breathalyzer. The first step is to press the power button and turn on the device until it says “blow”.

First, open your mouth and slowly exhale into the Breathalyzer. Repeat your breath for a required time (normally  4 – 5 seconds).

Wait for the device to process your breath sample, and it will display the result on the small screen. The police officers will conduct the test a few more times and decide if your BAC exceeds the limit to achieve the fairest result. 

If your BAC exceeds the limit, you will be arrested and brought to the nearest police station to take the alcohol test on large breathalyzer devices. 

If you want more in-depth information, consider watching the video below

A Hand-held Breathalyzer

The Other Types Of Alcohol Breath Tests

Besides the breathalyzers, there are other ways to measure drivers’ BAC. The first example is using an Intoxilyzer, which resorts to light technology to detect ethanol. 

The tests conducted with this machine are also similar to breathalyzer tests. You will have to breathe into the device, and it will automatically measure your BAC. 

Another common device is the Alcosensor, with more advanced molecule technologies to estimate BAC.


This part will answer some common questions about breathalyzers and the alcohol tests.

For How Long After Drinking Is The Breathalyzer Efficient?

The BAC in your body will go higher over time and reach the peak one hour after drinking. However, this number also depends on your body conditions.

After you drink, the breathalyzers can detect BAC after 15 minutes and last up to one day. 

Is The Breathalyzer Accurate?

The number on the breathalyzers’ display is BAC. According to the rule, if your BAC exceeds 0.8, you will be forced to stop driving. 

What Are The Breathalyzer Numbers?

The number on the breathalyzers’ display is BAC. According to the rule, if your BAC exceeds 0.8, you will be forced to stop driving. 

Final Thoughts

We hope that the answer provided in this post can satisfy you. To ensure your safety and the well-being of others on the road, it is best not to drink before you drive. Thank you for reading!

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