COVID Update - Express Calibrations unavailable until further notice

Daily Mail | June 2015

Mouthwash, chewing gum and aftershave: How RBT is now so finely tuned it can detect the smallest amount of alcohol 

  • Breathalysers are so sophisticated they can detect other types of alcohol
  • The models used by NSW Police pick up on ethanol levels 
  • Mouthwash and hand santiser are among products that set them off
  • However secondary test will clear driver if they have no alcohol in blood 

PUBLISHED: 08:15 BST, 15 June 2015 | UPDATED: 12:05 BST, 15 June 2015

From mouthwash to aftershave, breathalysers used by police are so sensitive they can pick up even the slightest scent of alcohol.

Hand sanitiser, perfume, chewing gum and toothpaste are also common offenders when it comes to setting off the finely tuned detectors.

When pulled over drivers in NSW are asked to take part in a screening test through a fuel cell breathalyser, which detects ethanol.

As this chemical is present in many other everyday products sometimes this initial test can present a false positive result.

However drivers are then asked to breathe into a plastic tube, when if they have not been drinking will clear them of any wrongdoing.

But if they return a blood alcohol reading of 0.5 or above, they are arrested and taken to a police station to undergo more testing.

Despite the fact that NSW Police Highway and Traffic boss Assistant Commissioner John Hartley said despite the fact breathlysers can detect other types of alcohol, there is no chance of someone being arrested for it.

'There is no fooling the system. In 80 million tests I have never heard of this ­happening,' he told The Daily Telegraph.

'If someone else is drinking in the car, it's windy or other factors are suspected of interacting with the test, an officer would use a tube on the device. If officers immediately detect alcohol they will use a tube,' Mr Hartley said.

James Cairncross, Sales Manager at breathalyser company Andatech confirmed to Daily Mail Australia that newest models were so sophisticated they could pick up surrounding scents.

'It will pick up anything that contains alcohol such as hand sanitiser, mouthwash, anything that contains ethanol,' he said.

'Some of the older models can pick up things like some diabetic medications.' 

This comes as more Victorian drink drivers could face having their cars impounded under tough new penalties. 

First-time offenders who blow 0.10 - twice the legal blood alcohol limit - will have their cars impounded and licences cancelled for 10 months, even if the car does not belong to them.

The new rules, which include a fine of $627 from August, are expected to see an extra 3,500 cars taken off the roads.

Victoria Police Assistant Commissioner Robert Hill said the new penalties will ensure irresponsible drivers and their vehicles are taken out of action.

Police Minister Wade Noonan says a range of impoundment offences already exist for repeat offences of speeding, drink, drug and unlicensed driving.

'In the past people might have seen this as a bit harsh but I think we've got to a point where Victorians would have little tolerance for people blowing 0.10,' Mr Noonan told 3AW radio on Monday. 


Originally published on the Daily Mail UK

Vivien Mah

Vivien is a Marketing specialist with over 7 years of experience in the health and safety industry. After graduating in psychology and communications, she grew to love educating readers and unraveling complexities behind difficult topics through extensive research. Apart from sharing her love for infographics, she also posts regularly on new products, announcements, media mentions and the latest news.