The maximum alcohol you are permitted to drink when driving varies widely between countries. Even within the UK Scotland has a lower limit than England and Wales. In China, should you be brave enough to rent a car there, the limit is 0.02 per cent. If you register between that and 0.08 per cent, you get an Rmb1,000-Rmb2,000 (about £113-£226) fine and a suspended licence – but anything over 0.08 per cent can land you in prison.
As AlcoSense, the British maker of this internationally programmed breathalyser, is at pains to point out, it’s not trying to facilitate you having as many drinks as legally possible before jumping merrily into the driving seat – and neither am I. The thrust is unintentional morning-after over-the-limit driving – which, in countries with a 0.02 per cent limit (a quarter of that allowed in England and Wales), is perilously easy.
AlcoSense breath meters have garnered a good record and a clutch of awards for their reliability, but this is the first model to be pre-programmed with local limits for 55 countries. They don’t geolocate, so you have to tell the device which country you’re in, and you still need to know local quirks too – such as Japan punishing drivers for appearing to be driving drunk, even if they haven’t touched a drop, or France’s hugely complex system (the AlcoSense Pro works there, but you have to carry a separate approved breathalyser in your car too; AlcoSense sells them for £4.99 a pair).