AlcoSense launches home breathalyser to combat drink-driving

Mark Gallivan


Mark Gallivan

It should appear obvious but you should never, ever drink and drive.

However, the social scourge of drivers driving drunk continues. A staggering 38% of all fatal crashes in Ireland were attributable to alcohol. And last year an average of 180 drivers was arrested each week for being drunk behind the wheel – that’s more than 25 people a day. More concerning, if you drink between 9pm and 11pm you may still not be sober until 11am the following day.

As it’s virtually impossible to correctly measure the amount of alcohol remaining in your bloodstream after you’ve been drinking, a new product called AlcoSense alerts you if you are under or over the limit and force you to take the responsible decision by choosing alternative transport.

While I rarely give a promotional plug to motoring products, a demonstration of AlcoSense’s home, self-testing breathalyser device this week was sobering and timely. A new Irish drink-driving law has come into effect for drivers caught with between 50-80 milligrams of alcohol per 100 millilitres of blood – mg/100mL BAC and will receive an automatic driving ban.

According to AlcoSense’s Managing Director, Hunter Abbott “Even one alcoholic drink can slow your reaction time, inhibit judgement, reduce concentration and affect motor skills such as eye, foot and hand co-ordination – increasing the likelihood of an accident. Using a personal breathalyser could save your licence and more importantly, could also save a life.”

By using a scaled down version of a typical fuel cell sensor that’s found in European and American breathalysers it can be recalibrated to set regional driving limits if driving abroad.

AlcoSense was developed and brought to market in the UK and has garnering several motoring industry awards. These include an Auto Express Group Test Winner 2018, Fifth Gear Group Test Winner and a German Design Award 2018. Reassuringly, as the AlcoSense devices works to minute tolerances, it is recalibrated after every 12 months and the unit is sent back to the owner within a working week. Prior notification and details on where to send your device for recalibration is available from AlcoSense and the company’s website.

To properly test the claims made by the company I put the device to test at home. The initial configuration and set-up is managed by rolling prompts on the screen and within minutes the device was ready for use. At that point you set the legal alcohol limit (in Ireland - 0.5% BAC) along with the current date and time. A recommendation is that you wait at least 30 minutes before undertaking a breath test after drinking.

Simply attach one of the included 5 x blow straws to the device. You will then be prompted to perform a breath test for a few seconds. The user is then alerted to three different readings - Green, Amber or Red. You should only drive if your breath test indicates within the green reading.

Available in five versions - including Lite, Elite, Excel, Pro, Ultra. The AlcoSense Excel is on sale in Halfords at €119.99. AlcoSense Excel has achieved the high ISO13485 benchmark for medical device systems. It may indeed be the ideal Christmas gift for everyone that drives a car.

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