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Thread: The Breathalyzer Challenge - Is 0.08 the right limit?

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    Default The Breathalyzer Challenge - Is 0.08 the right limit?

    As you all know, I've been pretty critical of BC's new DUI laws, with penalties starting at the warn limits of .05, so I decided to buy a breathalyzer, ask a couple of friends to join in a drinking experiment, found a DD and went off to drink and test.

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    A few days before we started, I wanted to see how repeatable the results were. The manual stated that you should wait 20 mins before blowing, and sure enough, after 1 sip and drinking right away, I registered a 0.150. After 10 mins, it dropped back down to a "proper" 0.01. We found that if we drank water or ate a clean ice cube after a sip, we can get consistent results. This was important, as we did not want to wait 10 mins per test throughout the night, which lasted around 6 hours.

    There were 4 of us that went through the experiment (with a 5th surprise test in the morning).

    Subject #1 was myself. 6'2", 190lbs, and a regular drinker. I can handle my alcohol pretty good.

    Subject #2 was Mibz, 180lbs.

    Subject #3 was kenny, 180lbs.

    Subject #4 was my assistant, she's 90lbs.

    Well, let's start off with my assistant. She started off with a Smirnoff Ice, and after that was done, immediately registered a 0.06, which qualifies for a warn. When asked if she could drive, she said there was no way. After her second drink (another Smirnoff Ice), she registered a whopping 0.13 and was walking into walls. By her 3rd drink which she couldn't complete, she blew a 0.16. That's 2 and a quarter drinks.

    kenny's an occasional drinker and can handle his alcohol pretty well. He went through the night with about 10 drinks (vodka highballs) and registered a high of 0.02. At the highest BAC point, he questioned his ability to drive, thought he would definately blow a warning, and was surprised he was able to legally operate a motor vehicle.

    Mibz had about 8 drinks (vodka highballs) over the course of the night, and at the point he felt that he couldn't drive, he blew a 0.02. His highest point was a 0.04, so in the eyes of the law, he was able to drive.

    I had about 20 or 22 drinks (vodka highballs) over the course of the evening, and when I first started feeling tipsy, I blew a 0.01. At my peak, where I had about 6 or 7 drinks in an hour, I felt that it was definately past the 0.08 legal limit and would not have driven a car. I blew a 0.05, barely registering a warn. An hour after I stopped drinking, I dropped down to a 0.03.

    Finally, the surprise subject, who had roughly 15 drinks, stopped drinking at 1am, puked throughout the night and woke up at 1am to try the breathalyzer out. The results? 0.02, a full 12 hours after drinking. He's a big guy, 220-230lbs.

    Conclusion? Everyone processes alcohol at different rates, and the legal guide of how many drinks you should have per hour is in no way accurate. Following the guide, I would've been completely sober, and my assistant would've been thrown in jail. The BAC level corresponds fairly well to how "buzzed" we felt, and is a fairly good representation of a person's ability to operate a motor vehicle.

    With that being said, I now believe the 0.08 legal limit is way too high, and agree with the more agressive targets of 0.05 for a mandatory 24 hour suspension. In fact, nobody should be driving past that point. I felt my reaction time was definately diminished at 0.05 and would make the difference between a close call and an accident in an emergency maneuver scenario.

    Next week, I'll try to do the same test while doing laps in a F1 game to really test reaction times.
    Originally posted by SEANBANERJEE
    I have gone above and beyond what I should rightfully have to do to protect my good name

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    Default Re: The Breathalyzer Challenge - Is 0.08 the right limit?

    Originally posted by rage2

    Next week, I'll try to do the same test while doing laps in a F1 game to really test reaction times.
    Awesome test, have always been interested in this. Also if you need a second subject for the above test I can help you out.
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    Is this the same equipment that the cops use?

    Interesting results.

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    wow crazy.

    interesting, 6 or 7 drinks in a hour and you blew a 0.05??

    now would a law enforcement breathalyzer be more "accurate" or anything?

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    Default Re: The Breathalyzer Challenge - Is 0.08 the right limit?

    [QUOTENext week, I'll try to do the same test while doing laps in a F1 game to really test reaction times. [/B][/QUOTE]

    Me and a coule friends have tried this out with F1 games and Forza. We actually found that most people actually got better at the game with 2 -3 beer in them. However, at 4 or 5 drinks most people could barely finish the lap.

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    Thanks for the right-up!

    Everyone out here is pretty paranoid about the new drinking laws, with fully grown men complaining that the couldn't drive after more than 1 drink, but I though the BAC was more along the lines of what you found above.

    I remember an episode of Mythbusters where they tried to find how much booze was required to hit the legal limit, and they were bombed long before the 0.08.

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    Clearly more testing will be required, I sure this will be an ongoing experiment.

    That machine seems pretty generous, I wonder if you could get a simultaneous demo with a real machine for comparison.

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    The unit I purchased is DOT approved for law enforcement use. I couldn't figure out what CPS actually uses.
    Originally posted by SEANBANERJEE
    I have gone above and beyond what I should rightfully have to do to protect my good name

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    We did this exact same experient with a friends breathalizers(he's a cop).

    Of course we had to drink until we actually hit a fail. I for one was utterly flabberghasted at how loaded one is, at 0.08. The reality at which i probably wouldn't have driven was closer to 0.02 or 0.04. By 0.08 i was loser pissed.

    I also agree it should be lower. I think by the time you're 0.08 the cop does NOT need the breathalyzer.

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    I meant the real machine, the one that counts. The road side ones aren't always used, they just haul your ass in or the have the van with a real machine.

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    My cousin did a road side screening devise and got a warn, he was pretty pissed. I think he would have failed the real machine.

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    Now here's an experiment I wouldn't mind being a subject in! How much was that breathalyzer?

    Even if you don't blow over, can't a cop still deem you 'under the influence' after a short examination?

    Interesting results, thanks for posting.
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    I have to question the accuracy of the machine. Those numbers seem way out to lunch.

    Doing a similar test when i blew over the limit (0.089 then 15 min later 0.087) i felt that i was definatly under the influence but no where near intoxicated. I had drank about 7 beer over 4 hours at this point. I feel that i can handle my alcohol very well. This was on certified equipment used by local police.

    Does the unit come pre-calibrated?

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    Originally posted by msommers


    Even if you don't blow over, can't a cop still deem you 'under the influence' after a short examination?
    Yeah, don't even have to give you an examination or breathalyser as far as I know.

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    I guess as Hakkola said (same equipment?) and if not, it has been said that the units available to the public are not accurate and should not be relied upon (not submissible in court either?)

    I agree with you, Rage - it SHOULD be lowered. In fact I'm all for a complete ban, simply because there are so many variables from person to person. There are far too many horrific deaths and life changing injuries occurring because some selfish prick wants to have a (few) drink(s).

    The scariest part is that there are people who 'feel' ok to drive, but may well be over the limit but fail to understand that it's not about 'feeling' ok. It does NOT mean your reaction time is the same as when completely sober and that you are the same driver as if sober.

    Would be very interesting to repeat the experiment with a larger group of people AND with a COP armed with a 'real' breathaliser.

    This vid brings it home - guy has a pint with the boys after a game and seems fine....but is he?


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    Can we make a beyond pool out of this? Closest to .08 without going over, winner drives home?
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    I did the same experiment when my friend in Civil Engineering was doing a project on drunk driving.

    At 0.04 there was no way I'd drive.

    0.08 is super hammered.

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    Haha I would definitely be down to try this out if you guys do it again and need a bigger test subject (6'7" 240lbs)

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    A buddy of mine used to test the devices with him and his friends for on of the manufacturer.

    They would pick him up, feed him liquor and constantly ask him to blow into the device and then drive him home at the end of the night. Some test were done mixed with food, non-alcoholic drinks or physical activity and some were just drinking without any other factors.

    Regardless of the test he said that usually once he hit about 0.04 was when he felt that there was no way that he would drive home.

    Once he hit 0.08 he said he could barely walk and his vision was so bad he could barely read from a distance. Makes you feel less sympathetic about the people who bitch about getting a 48 hr suspension from a 0.06-0.07 test.

    I have only had to blow once and that was after a wedding where I had 3-4 drinks with dinner and then left early (once the speeches were done). I was still SUPER nervous because I had a drink about an hour before I left. I ended up standing on the 5th Ave flyover and blew a 0.00.

    Heh.

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