Here’s some alarming statistics for you:
- Drink four pints between 9pm and 11pm and you may not be safe to drive until 11am the following morning
- 51% of drivers are unaware they could be over the limit the morning after
- 17.8% of motoring convictions are for being over the limit the morning after
- You are 13 times more likely to have an accident if you are driving whilst at the English drink drive limit
So with that in mind, how many times have you done then right thing in getting a taxi home after a night out, or been driven home by a designated driver but not thought about getting to work the following morning. Can you honestly say that you have never been out, had a few drinks and then got in the car at 8am and been under the drink drive limit? A quick straw poll in our office showed that actually we weren’t sure if any of us could do that. Which is why we were so keen to try out a digital breathalyser from AlcoSense. Founded in 2007 this is what CEO Hunter Abbott has to say about why he founded the company:
I was at a friend’s wedding and James and I had been drinking together at the reception, we were definitely merry but I wouldn’t say we were drunk. The following morning we left the hotel at about noon, James went his way and I went mine. I got home safe and sound but later that evening James called. He’d been stopped by the Police for speeding, got breathalysed and failed. All of a sudden I realised that James and I had been matching our drinks, I too was probably over the limit when I was driving home from the wedding, completely unaware that I was. James lost his licence for 12 months, and then shortly after he lost his job as a result. The problem was that there was no way of telling when the alcohol had cleared your system, and because everyone’s different you can’t even calculate it.
Since then it has actually become a legal requirement to carry breathalysers in your car when driving in France so AlcoSense have developed disposable breathalysers along a range of digital models. They kindly sent us their Excel model. A handy device that is about the size of a pack of playing cards. It comes with three AAA batteries and five “blow tubes”. The first time you use it you have to input the date and are reminded that this cannot be changed at a later date. An odd thing you might think but it is because the device is only calibrated for a year. After that you need to send it back to be recalibrated (for a small fee) in order to ensure that the unit is always registering the correct readings. We decided to hand one over to T who blogs at Mummy Barrow to see how she would get on with after lunchtime drinks, and after a night drinking at home. Here’s how she got on:
First of all this device is incredibly easy to set up, and is ready to go in seconds. It is also super easy to use, you simply slide the front up and insert a tube (the tube hole even lights up so you can do it in the dark). Then you simply take a deep breath and blow continuously for about 8 seconds until you hear the beep. The display then shows you one of three colours, green, amber or red. What struck me was the information on AlcoSense’s website that said whilst you might feel fine after just one drink, your body is processing the alcohol for up to 90 minutes after that so if you jump in the car feeling great, you may well not be after 70 miles. Something that was evident when I did two tests one afternoon this week. Working from home meant I was safe to have a lunch time drink as I knew I didn’t need to be anywhere later on, so if I failed the breath test I was at home anyway. As I poured my drink it made me realise that actually when we say “I am fine, I have only had one”, how big is that “one” and are we still safe to drive? One in a pub is very different from one poured by friends at their house who don’t measure the spirits. Or the glass of wine. So whilst you think you might be okay to drive after one, you may well not be. There is only safe way to find out.
This was my first reading an hour after my lunchtime gin. But look what had happened after 90 minutes:
The reading was higher. Now I also had lunch at the same time so that could have a bearing on the reading, if I had just had the drink it may have been higher to start with. Think if you go out for drinks after work and then go home for dinner, if you haven’t eaten since lunch time the reading could well be higher. If I had a second drink I would almost certainly have been unfit to drive. Later in the week I decided to have another go and to see if I would be safe to drive the morning after, particularly on a morning where I knew I was leaving the house at 8am, the time many people typically commute. I had three gins and after an hour this was the reading
No surprise there then! When I woke up the next morning I must admit I felt awful with a blinding headache that had me reaching for the kettle for a cuppa at 5am. This however was the reading:
Which was excellent news. Really reassuring to know that I was definitely safe to drive so early in the morning. For £100 I think this is a great piece of kit and one that everybody should have in their glove box. Especially with the festive party season about to be in full swing. We are all great at organising taxis after a night out, or having a designated driver but it has never really occurred to me that the morning after is when nearly a quarter of drink driving offences occur. Losing my license is not something I can even contemplate so I am definitely going to be using this on a regular basis from now on!
If you want to find out more then do visit the AlcoSense website
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