Personal alcohol breath testers have become an important purchase for many Valley motorists anxious to party at the FBR Open and Super Bowl. But police said the drugstore devices may be unreliable in indicating exact blood alcohol level.
“The department is encouraged that people are interested in their blood alcohol level,” Scottsdale police Sgt. Mark Clark said.
But he warned that using a personal breath tester might not be the surest way to save yourself from a costly DUI arrest.
“Your blood alcohol level could be up or down depending on how much you drank and when you last had a drink,” Clark said. “You could test below and then get into a car to drive and you are above the legal limit.”
Nevertheless, Valley retailers said the devices have sold well as Super Bowl Sunday approaches.
Frank Rosado, a Sharper Image manager at Chandler Fashion Center, said his store has seen an increase in sales of their AlcoHAWK breath testers, which run between $120 and $140.
Christina Naylor, manager of Brookstone at Scottsdale Fashion Square, said all of the Brookstone outlets in Arizona have been sold out of their personal breath testers for weeks.
Colleen Harwood, a Brookstone manager at Biltmore Fashion Park in Phoenix, confirmed that report. She said many customers have recently come into the store looking to purchase a personal breath tester in anticipation of Super Bowl weekend, but the store is not restocking its inventory.
Instead, she said Brookstone is in the process of revamping its product line.
The devices are designed to measure the amount of alcohol in a person’s blood by measuring the alcohol in the lungs – which is equivalent.
As alcohol enters the bloodstream, it flows to the lungs chemically unchanged. The alcohol is then exhaled when it mixes with the air in the lungs, and the percentage is analyzed to determine the amount of alcohol in the body.
Despite the technology, Scottsdale police said the best way to avoid arrest is to drive responsibly.
“The only true way to stay safe and avoid a DUI is to have a designated driver or don’t drink at all,” Clark said.