Don’t Eat Subway and Drive: The Joys of Having a Breathylizer

Before I realized why I was insane I used to drink alcohol throughout each day just to be able to be around people and go to school (yes, I actually graduated college with a 3.7GPA, and even more surprising I’m still living).  At first the alcohol seemed to be a good logical choice; it allowed me to be around people, avoid stress, and escape my insanity and pretend to be like all of you.  Well this started to wear off somewhere in my early 20’s. I needed more alcohol and since I drank all day, this caused problems when I drove.  I am not proud of my drinking and driving in the past, nor am I of the 2 underage DWI’s and the 2 regular ones.  I’ve since quit drinking, went 4 years without a license (from the last one, 7 total), but in the past 1.5 years I’ve had the joy of having a breathalyzer installed in my car issued by the DMV and serviced by the wonderful people at Monitech.

Boy are these fun!  Now just let me complain, I did my time going without the license and paid many thousands of dollars in court fines/lawyer fees, and 100’s of hours of community service.  It’s amazing to realize how much alcohol surrounds our environment and even in our bodies naturally.  This thing has failed me from smoking a berry flavored cigar, a 6-inch Subway sandwich (from the oil/vinegar), and even an energy drink (I’m guessing something like the taurine set it off).  So now I’m living in constant fear of driving even though I’ve been sober a long time.  And I know, I sewed these seeds and I’m reaping this fear and annoyance but wow is this a screwed up system.  And the fees are ridiculous  $60 a month just to “rent” it for 3 years, $35-$50 for “maintenece or recall if the device starts acting up/showing alcohol readings when it shouldn’t”, and the best one – a $1550 fee if your unit breaks and cannot be repaired or if it gets stolen.  Oh but you can buy monthly insurance for that for around $25-$50 a month.  And the device will drain your car battery dead in 2 days, so you have to buy a charger and hook it up to your battery every time you get home and park (see attached image to see what happens when you forget to fully close your hood while forgetting to unplug the charger).  And it sucks in the winter because it takes about 3-5 minutes for it to warm up to be able to use.

So now I will have to go to a hearing for them to determine if I will be able to keep my license after viewing the data that claims I consumed alcohol while trying to start my car up.

Here is the sequence of events that is risking me to get my license revoked and to start this 3 year Breathylizer process again:

0:00 – Start up the car, passed with a .0000

0:30 – After going in the gas station and trying to start my car up again, it registers over a .08, above the legal limit!

1:05 – After the thing locks my ignition from starting up and waiting the 30 minute lockout time, I blow a .0000 and pass, then go home, then 20 minutes later, start the car up again and blow a .0000 and go to my parents house to eat dinner.

So according to the Breathalyzer I was fully sober before going to the gas station, then I drank 3-4 beers at the gas station and blew over a .08, then magically after the 30 minute lockout I became .0000 fully sober.  And it appears the DMV believes that over the fact that Breathalyzer’s are very unreliable and so many things can cause it to go off (not rinsing your mouth before you blow since food particles can ferment in your mouth, vinegar, bread/yeast, tobacco smoke, and any forms of fruit and fruit flavored products like a berry flavored cigar).  And in the manual it says, it’s your own responsibility to find out what foods and drinks can possibly cause a failure on the test.  The problem is it’s virtually endless.  The only way to be sure you won’t fail is to not drink, eat, or smoke anything for an hour before you drive (and this is all non-alcoholic I’m talking about).

So just remember kids, don’t eat Subway and drive.

Having your hood fly up and be stuck to the windshield, having glass shatter in your face while going 45mph crossing a bridge is not fun at the time, but hilarious a few days after.

Having your hood fly up and be stuck to the windshield, having glass shatter in your face while going 45mph crossing a bridge is not fun at the time, but hilarious a few days after.

Yes, this actually happened!

Yes, this actually happened!


Oh, and here’s more ranting I did after getting my first fail, discussing how the DMV had Monitech change the settings on them that make them mess up so often –

New Unfair Laws for Monitech’s Breathalyzer Enforced by the DMV


5 thoughts on “Don’t Eat Subway and Drive: The Joys of Having a Breathylizer

  1. Hi, I found this blog when doing a search for “monitech failures.” My husband has had one installed for almost a year and it’s killing us!!- the amount of money we’ve poured into this thing! He gets fails at least once a week, I’m assuming the things he eats before blowing. It’s so frustrating! Each lock out costs $35! I don’t even want to think about what happens when his year is up. Will he have to keep it longer if his record shows all of these fails? His mistake affects our family. It’s so disappointing! Thanks for the post. At least I know others are dealing with this bull also! Hope you don’t mind my venting. Good luck with your journey as well.

    • Yes, it’s been a 3 year nightmare for me. I only have 6 months left hoping and praying I don’t get anymore false fails. I just don’t eat or drink anything now 30-45 min before driving and lately I’ve been letting the car sit and getting rides from other people out of fear all of that time, money, and frustration will happen all over again if they take it away. I got another “high fail” last month and had to pay the $35. One thing I did change is now I get the $7 insurance per month since it’s my last 6 months and the device is $1550 to replace and I’ve had it for 2.5 years. I mean computers go bad in that time so if it breaks I’m in debt. I hope everything works out for you and your husband, I know it’s a nightmare, but have faith things will work out! 🙂

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