I took some heat in May when I featured the AlcoSense Pro, a £150 breathalyser programmed with the drink‑drive limits for most major countries. Someone on Twitter suggested I was condoning drink-driving. I wasn’t. I condone both, but not at the same time.
That said, there is a grey area, the morning-after effect, which is said to get a lot of drivers into trouble. It is well established, I read, that even a single glass of wine can still show up on a police-issue breath analyser many hours after, should you have a particular constitution.
Which is why this more expensive – and simpler – breathalyser from Germany appeals to me. It is made by Dräger – whose name and logo you may dimly register if you’ve ever visited an intensive care unit. Dräger makes a lot of high-dependency equipment. And the key feature of its Alcotest 3820 is that the sensor is the same one used in Home Office approved, certified UK police devices. So you will get the same +/-1.6 per cent accuracy as the police. It also has a reusable mouthpiece, which is handier than having to slot in a new one for every test, a four-second startup time and a five-year battery life.
I should mention that in my one-off side-by-side test, the 3820 gave precisely the same reading (28mg per 100ml, minutes after a large glass of wine) as the AlcoSense. But it’s easier to use, and I would find having the same kit as the cops immensely reassuring.