It is just a little too easy to indulge with a lover this Valentine’s Day. A little champagne before dinner, a fine wine over dinner and a nightcap could see you well over .05 blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

At .05 BAC you are twice as likely to have a crash than before drinking, and it can take several hours to get the alcohol out of your system.

Probationary drivers (P-platers), learner drivers (L-platers) and professional drivers (for vehicles such as heavy trucks, buses or taxis) must only drive with a zero BAC.

On a more sober note, drinking and driving is bloody stupid – all it takes is two standard drinks in the first hour and one per hour after that to reach the limit. Let’s not even start on using a mobile while driving or use of illegal drugs.

As a guide:

  • 375ml can low-strength beer (2.7% alcohol) = 0.8 standard drinks
  • 375ml can mid-strength beer (3.5% alcohol) = 1 standard drink
  • 375ml can full-strength beer (4.8% alcohol) = 1.4 standard drinks
  • 100ml wine (13.5% alcohol) = 1 standard drink
  • 150ml wine (13.5% alcohol) = 1.5 standard drinks (average restaurant serving)
  • 30ml spirits (40% alcohol) = 0.95 standard drinks
  • 300-440ml can pre-mix spirits (approx. 5% alcohol) = 1.2-1.7 standard drinks
  • 300-440ml can pre-mix spirits (approx. 7% alcohol) = 1.6-2.4 standard drinks

All testers are not the same. They employ several sensor technologies (in order of effectiveness)

  • SC – Semiconductor Sensor
  • SC Pro – Professional Grade Semiconductor Sensor for more reliable readings
  • FxCell – Fuel Cell Sensor for fast, alcohol-specific BAC readings
  • FxCell2 – More advanced fuel cell sensor for faster, more stable performance
  • FxCell3 – Industrial grade fuel cell sensor built for long-lasting sensor stability and high volume testing

Also look for Australian Standards AS3547 Certification – a guarantee it works.

Andatech supplies AlcoSense personal breath testers from $199 to $499.

GadgetGuy’s take

When I was a lad there was no such thing as RBT or speed radars – life was good. But even then, the prospect of drink driving terrified me, and I bought a breath tester just to be sure. Touch wood – it saved me from me.

It is quite wrong to think you are OK to drive – all those excuses – but you are not. Over the past 40 years, I have lost many friends to drunk driving accidents.

We all know it is wrong – perhaps a breathalyser is the wakeup call.

GadgetGuy will be testing the latest AlocSense personal breathalyser soon.