Before we get into the concept of beating a breathalyzer test, let’s discuss how alcohol gets into a person’s blood and breath. The word “alcohol” refers to certain organic compounds, including ethanol, a small molecule. Alcoholic beverages contain ethanol and it is easily absorbed into the stomach and passed into the blood.
As you consume alcohol, a small amount of alcohol in your blood will be vaporized with each breath. The alcohol will pass into the lungs and be expressed out of your body. The more alcohol you drink, the more alcohol your body expels. When you blow into a breathalyzer, the air that you breathe out will go through a small chamber. If you’ve been drinking alcohol, some of the alcohol in your blood will be passed through the air that you blow out.
While the machines can detect blood alcohol concentration, they can also detect mouth alcohol. So, if you swig a mouthwash containing alcohol just before blowing into the device, the machine will be able to detect it.
Cheating a Breathalyzer
Suppose you had a few drinks at dinner. Or perhaps you had three or four drinks at a friend’s house, or at a bar. But you waited it out and you had two or three glasses of water in hopes of sobering up. Now, you’re thinking, “I’m fine to drive.” As you head home, you see the red and blue lights flashing in your rear-view mirror. Adrenaline floods your system. Your heart begins to race and suddenly you’re thinking about the breath test and you’re wondering:
- Should I suck on a penny?
- Should I drink some mouthwash?
- Will a stick of gum help me?
- Will breath spray help me out?
- Should I have had coffee before hitting the road?
- If I had mixed my drinks with energy drinks, would my BAC be lower?
In the seconds after a driver realizes he or she is being pulled over, it’s common for them to ask themselves the above questions. But guess what? These breathalyzer cheats DO NOT WORK. “You cannot cheat or defeat the intoxilyzers by trying to blow down the sides of the mouthpiece, putting your tongue over it or putting some kind of catalyst (a copper coin) in your mouth first. The only way to beat it is to not drink and drive!” according to an article on breathalyzer and intoxilyzer tests in Forbes.