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TestNotice - Breathalyzer myths debunked

Posted on April 21st, 2015

Breathalyzer myths debunked

There are a lot of myths out there on how to "beat" a breathalyzer test. Here are a few common ones and some real facts.

We've all been there before: you're out having a few drinks, enjoying the evening, and then it's time to close out the tab and hit the road. You might not feel too drunk to drive, but if you blow a high enough blood alcohol level, your enjoyable evening will implode and a new nightmare will begin.

Keep in mind that you might be driving perfectly fine, obeying all of the laws, but you happen to have forgotten to get your car inspected, or you have a tail light out, or maybe you get stopped pulled over randomly at a DUI or DWI checkpoint. Here are the definitive answers to several DUI breathalyzer myths we have been asked about.

Will sucking on a penny help me blow a lower BAC on the breathalyzer?

No. Most breathalyzers use a platinum fuel cell sensor, meaning it uses platinum (not copper) to take readings and therefore having copper in your mouth will not impact the reading. Plus, who knows where that greasy coin has been - gross.

Will eating peanut butter after drinking hide the smell of alcohol on my breath?

Unlikely. If you smell like beer, wine, or apple-tinis, chances are a police officer will suspect that you have been drinking and request a BAC test. The theory behind the peanut butter myth, is that peanut butter is a pungent smell, and therefore it might overpower the alcohol odor. In that line of reasoning, you might as well douse yourself in cologne or perfume. This will, unfortunately, have no effect on the breath test and leave you suspiciously overpowering.

Will hyperventilating help me fool a breathalyzer?

The answer to this is: maybe. The way the breath expunges alcohol during an exhalation is not steady from start to finish. For example, taking a deep breath in and exhaling, the beginning of the breath might not have as high a read on alcohol potency. On the same hand, the last depths of your breath, from deep down in your lungs, has a much higher relative level of alcohol content. This is why police are trained to make sure you take nice deep breaths when you blow. By hyperventilating you are removing all that alcohol-laden air from your lungs for a couple minutes so if you took a breathalyzer test immediately after it could be up to 15% lower (according to an academic study). That said, any officer suspecting you of breathing tricks will likely require you to repeat the test with full lungs, and a full exhale.

Do you have more myths that you would like answered? Send them to us at hello@testnotice.com.

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