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Wednesday, November 26th, 2014 at 10:28 pm
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Health

Over the Border — and Over the Limit

December 5th marks an important date for all drivers in Scotland, when the new lower drink-drive limits come into force. The message from the police and road safety organisations is still ‘the best advice is none’, i.e. don’t drink and drive, but drivers can further contribute to road safety by using their own breathalyser to determine their alcohol level the morning after.

The new drink-drive limit is almost HALF the previous level – a reduction from 80 mg to just 50 mg.  Many will conclude that on this basis, the only option is to abstain completely or use a taxi at the end of the night.  But for those who take a taxi home, what about the morning after?

With the Christmas party season set to begin and Hogmanay not far behind, a key failure among drivers is recognising the impact of still being over the drink-drive limit the following morning, when many will get into their cars without a second thought about their alcohol levels.

Sales of alcohol testing devices are soaring, but it’s crucial to realise that not all are accurate enough at the new lower level — and a false sense of security can lead to very serious and life-changing consequences. Most of the low-cost breathalysers sold in stores use less reliable “semi-conductor” sensors which, while cheaper to buy, are far less accurate – which is why the UK Police ONLY use breathalysers with sensors known as “Fuel Cells”.

UK company AlcoDigital have supplied Police-Approved drug and alcohol testing equipment to major plc’s and government bodies for over 12 years, but also sell breathalysers suitable for consumers.  Available over the phone or from the website, they offer a wide range but crucially (especially at the new lower limit) they have several “Prosumer” devices that use the same “Fuel Cell” type sensors the Police use.

AlcoDigital have also just released the new AlcoDigital Platinum. A world first, it combines the fuel cell’s accuracy and reliability with a replaceable cartridge which users can change themselves, eliminating the need to send the breathalyser away to be  calibrated each year. The device is accurate to just ±0.005%

Suzannah Robin, AlcoDigital’s Sales & Training Director, said, “Many drivers think that ‘sleeping it off’ means fitness to drive the following day, but the truth can be so different. Much depends for example, on an individual’s tolerance to alcohol, their gender and metabolic rate. Driving the following morning while still over the permitted limit is never worth the risk to you or to other road users.  The consequences of ‘morning after’ driving can be just as devastating; the only way to be certain is to breathalyse yourself before getting into the car”.

Figures from Road Safety Scotland show that nearly one in seven deaths on Scottish roads involve drivers who are over the over the legal limit.

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