Checking Out Over-the-Counter Breathalyzers

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- With New Year's Eve just a few days away, if you check the aisle of most drug stores and convenience stores, you'll find over-the-counter breathalyzers.

WSAZ.com bought three, ranging in price from $5.99 to $51.
We compared them to a breathalyzer calibrated to West Virginia standards that's used in the West Virginia Start Smart Program.

It's an interlock program where DUI offenders must use a breathalyzer to start their vehicle. If it detects alcohol beyond the legal limit, the car remains dead.

Huntington resident Lonnie Gill agreed to test each product. He had two beers over the course of an hour and then waited the recommended 20 minutes before administering the test.

Three over-the-counter breathalyzers were compared with the official calibrated one -- four in all, and four different results.

"We got three different readings," Gill said. "To me, that means you can't count on them. You can't trust them to keep you safe."


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