So here’s an odd little conundrum: If you’d like to have sweet-smelling breath the next time you’re pulled over, it’s highly advisable that you use mouthwash every day. (After all, you can’t predict when you’ll be stopped by cops, unless you’re planning on speeding.) However, unless you use an alcohol-free mouthwash, there is a chance that your anti-halitosis regimen can land you a DUI charge.
This is true no matter what country you live in, as evidenced by a recent article in the Hong Kong Standard. The piece pointed out that in India, the odds of this happening are especially tilted, since police officers there often use their noses to diagnose drunkenness, rather than utilizing a breathalyzer.
Why would Indian cops use their sniffers instead of a finely calibrated machine? “If we start checking each of them with sensors, it will lead to traffic snarls on the road,” one officer explained to the news source.
Still, even in the U.S., where breathalyzers set the standard for DUI evidence collection, any driver who doesn’t use a specialty, alcohol-free mouthwash runs the risk, however slight, of getting hauled in for boozing that they didn’t have the pleasure of actually experiencing.
The ability of alcohol-based mouthwashes to register on a breathalyzer is no myth. Studies in journals like the aptly titled Alcohol and Alcoholism show that recent use of an alcohol-based mouthrinse can easily mimic a blood-alcohol content above 0.08.