A new trend -- personal Breathalyzer-type devices offer to help you make smarter decisions

15 9 2 LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

Despite the dangers, people are still drinking and driving.

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, in 2012 more than 24,000 people were arrested for drunken driving.

Last year the State Highway Patrol made more than 3,500 OVI stops.

A new trend -- personal Breathalyzer-type devices offer to help you make smarter decisions.

We wanted to see how accurate they really are, so we didn't go to a bar but instead to the Bay Village Police Department, where we were under the watchful eye of officer Mark Palmer, who holds the department record for the most OVI arrests.

We tested the $50 Breathometer that uses an app and hooks to your smartphone and the $20 Impega Alcohol Tester, that just hooks to your phone.

We recruited David, a moderate drinker consuming light beer and Dan, a frequent social drinker, consuming red wine. Channel 3's Monica Robins rarely drinks, so she opted for shots of hard liquor to get it over quickly.

First we tested the devices to make sure they register no alcohol. Then Palmer administered field sobriety tests that everyone passed.

Then we started drinking. According to directions, you must wait at least 20 minutes after a drink for the devices to work.

Initially the devices were on par with the police portable unit.

After the third drink, both meters showed Monica way under the legal limit, but she was feeling the effects.

Each of the three drank four drinks in 90 minutes. Twenty minutes later, the devices started to skyrocket.

David and Dan were legally drunk. Monica was nearly twice the legal limit.

"They're kind of all over the place. At times they said there was no alcohol, at times they said there was more. ... It's just a gauge," Palmer said of the devices.

To compare, each took an official test with the Police Department's Intoxilyzer.

David's results were drastically off. He was safe at 0.03. Dan and Monica were over the legal limit, over 0.1.

The Breathometer was close to accurate, but the Impega was way off for Dan and Monica, saying they're under the legal limit. Some might confuse that with being safe to drive.

"I wouldn't rely on it. Rely on the idea that if you're drinking, don't drive. Call a cab, get a ride, don't drink, drink at home," Palmer said. "If you're leaving a bar and you have to blow into that, you shouldn't be driving anyway."

For the record, David, Dan and Monica all got a ride home. And you'll get a ride to jail if you drink and drive.

15 9 2 LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE
Read or Share this story: http://on.wkyc.com/1ivta6i