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Blood alcohol testers for the common person

South Carolina residents might be interested to hear that now there are blood alcohol testers on the market that allow the common person to test his or her own breath. At one time, electronic equipment to test a person's blood alcohol content level came in the form of $10,000 machines that required special training to operate. However, nowadays such equipment can be purchased for merely $30 and easily operated without any special training.

The National Transportation Safety Board has recently made a proposal that all 50 states lower their legal blood alcohol content levels from 0.08 down to 0.05. This proposal has helped generate people's interest in personal BAC testing devices, some of which are even sold as smartphone accessories. However, safety experts say that the reliability of a cheap breath test does not necessarily guarantee that people are safe to drive. Impairment of driving ability varies from person to person, and cheaper equipment might not be as accurate as the more expensive versions used by police officers.

Such machines do offer a form of measuring blood alcohol content levels beyond simply counting drinks, however. Plus, they might be useful to parents who want to ensure that their children aren't drinking. They might be able to help people determine when they shouldn't drive so that they don't get charged with DUIs.

The consequences of DUIs are strict in most states, and South Carolina is no different. Those convicted of DUIs are subject to fines, fees, probation, community service and even jail time. Additionally, the consequences are worsened if those convicted already have one or more DUIs on their driving records. DUI attorneys might be able to help people get their DUI charges dismissed by questioning the reliability of the equipment used to test the people's breath.

Source: New York Times, "Blood Alcohol Testers for Those Without Badges ", Matthew Wald, July 03, 2013

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