How To Beat Alcoblow (Kenyan DUI Breathalyzer)


If you are a regular driver on Kenyan roads and you enjoy your tipple, you must have wondered if it is possible to beat or trick the alcoblow gadget and pass the test.

Alcoblow is a breathalyzer device used by Kenyan traffic police to determine blood alcohol concentration (BAC). The gadget has proved a nightmare for Kenyan drivers. Hundreds have been arrested, fined and even jailed for driving under the influence.

There are several misconceptions around the issue of whether the device can be tricked and we hope to separate fact from fiction in this article.

Drinking lots of water before you leave the bar will lower your BAC

This is fiction. The amount of water you drink does not affect the length of time it takes your body to break down alcohol. Water only prevents you from getting dehydrated and can lessen the effects of a hangover.

On average, it takes one hour to break down one unit of alcohol. The following are the units of alcohol contained in several drinks common in Kenya do the math.

One unit of alcohol is equal to 10 ml of pure alcohol. The following are the approximate units in popular Kenyan drinks:

  • 2.1 units in a 175 ml glass of wine (12%)
  • 3 units in a 250 ml wine (12%)
  • 2 units in 473ml of low-strength lager, beer or cider (2.5 – 3.5%) e.g. White Cap Light, Tusker Light
  • 3 units in 473ml of higher-strength lager, beer or cider (5 – 6%)e.g. Heineken, Tusker Malt, Summit Malt, Tusker, Pilsner, Whitecap, Summit etc
  • 1 unit in a tot measure of spirits (25ml) e.g. Viceroy, Richot, Smirnoff, Jameson, Johny Walker, etc

The length of time to break down alcohol is also affected by a person’s:

  • weight
  • gender
  • age
  • metabolism
  • the amount of food eaten
  • type of alcohol consumed
  • medication 

Holding Your Breath and Pretending to Blow into the Device

This will hardly fool the usually hawk-eyed police officers. In fact, it is a bad idea to try this because holding your breath allows alcohol to accumulate in your lungs and potentially inflate the actual BAC reading when you eventually blow into the device (and you will!).

Hyperventilation May Beat Alcoblow

The only way you could potentially get away drink driving is by hyperventilating a few minutes before you blow into the device. This involves breathing in and out deeply for about two minutes. A decades-old study found that breathing in and out deeply or engaging in vigorous exercise a few minutes before being tested can lower your BAC by as much as 10%. So if you are only slightly above the legal limit, you could try hyperventilating and you just might pass the test.

How Do I Drive a Car While I Am Drunk?

Well, here’s the thing. If you get in the front seat of your car and start it while you’re wasted, you can get arrested for 24 hours or longer and issued a DUI. Even if your car doesn’t move.

Now if you do start moving, you can potentially hit and kill pedestrians, other cars, animals, drive through a home and the list goes on. Texting while driving increases the likelihood of an accident by 23%. Think of being wasted as texting while driving on steroids. That 23% number skyrockets up.

Everyone hits the points I made above though when discussing drunk driving. No one ever talks about how much time is wasted or how much money it costs to get a DUI after you get caught. So I will. It’s easy to make things sound theoretical in your head, but when you know about the financial consequences, that may hold more weight. I know it does for someone like me.

So now we know that you can go to jail and kill someone. But what are the after effects if you are caught?

1. Hiring a Lawyer. (Average cost $5,000)

2. Multiple Court Hearings.

3. Community Service for over 100 hours.

4. Alcoholics Anonymous classes. (If you miss a class or can’t afford the fees, you have to do more classes or the judge can send you back to jail)

5. Have a breathalyzer placed in your vehicle. (This has a monthly fee that is nearly as high as $100 and even if you had drinks the night before and you need to get to work in the morning, you won’t be able to start your car since the alcohol is still in your system)

6. Get drug tested regularly. 

7. Being on probation.

8. Getting tossed back in jail for missing fines or an AA class or community service, while just trying to balance everything out so you can keep a stable job.

I’m sure there are other parts I’m missing here, but if you don’t want to spend a few vacations in jail or have an extra $20,000 laying around to cover all these astronomical costs and the loss of work you will be encountering, then I wouldn’t recommend drinking or driving.

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