Can Affordable, Compact Personal Breathalyzers Reduce Drunk Driving?

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Alcohoot’s tiny breathalyzer connects to your smartphone making the device quick and easy to use.

A new, compact, blood alcohol analyzer from Alcohoot may give drinkers that head out with a car a more realistic way to measure their blood alcohol level.  The $99 device attaches to your smartphone.  You breathe into it and it tells you where your blood alcohol rating is so you can compare that to the legal limit.  Alcohoot has been conducting promotional events in conjunction with Uber to help encourage those out drinking who have consumed alcohol beyond the safe limit to get a ride home instead of driving.


Alcohol-related crashes are the single largest cause of automotive-related deaths.  In the last full year of data, 2013, alcohol-related crashes killed more than 10,000 Americans, accounting for about a third of all traffic deaths.  A quarter of the drivers who killed themselves or others in alcohol-related deaths are serial drunk-drivers, having had their license suspended or revoked in the three-year period before the fatality.

alcohol fatalities chart

Breathalyzers are not new.  Scientists knew back in the late 1800s that a person who has consumed alcohol breathes out traces of it.  In 1958 the term Breathalyzer was trademarked, and the term has come to define all manner of breath analyzers that detect alcohol.

The trouble with them is that up until this point, they’ve been a means of sending drivers to the hoosegow for the night, rather than a proactive deterrent to drunk driving. Most people take a guess at whether or not they’ve consumed too much alcohol to be driving, and unfortunately for a lot of folks, their guess is dead wrong.

That’s where Alcohoot’s product comes in. The theory is that in seconds, you’ll know exactly whether or not you’re safe to drive.

Whether heading out with a car and relying on a breathalyzer to determine if one is sober enough to drive is a good strategy is debatable.  Alcohoot’s product won’t end drunken driving.  However, any device that might help more than it hurts is a move in the right direction.


John Goreham

John Goreham