Breathalysers: Over-the-counter tests sold-out in Limerick stores

Rory O’Connor


Rory O’Connor

Home breathalyser kits are ‘hard to keep' in Limerick stores following the implementation of stricter drink driving laws

Home breathalyser kits are ‘hard to keep' in Limerick stores following the implementation of stricter drink driving laws

STRICTER drink driving laws have resulted in a huge upsurge in the purchase of home breathalyser kits in Limerick with many local stores selling out of the devices.

The products were sold out in Limerick stores, Boots on William Street and Halfords on City East Retail Park when visited by The Leader this week.

A Halfords store assistant referred to the sought-after product as “not hard to get, just hard to keep” adding that they sell out “straight away” following deliveries.  

When contacted this Tuesday afternoon a sales representative from AlcoSense, the leading manufacturers of off-the-shelf breathalysers, and supplier to Boots and Halfords said: “It’s absolutely crazy in Ireland since the limit changed” adding that he hopes the products will be back on shelves soon.

Starting at €48 and rising to as much as €300, the entire range of six AlcoSense products were all sold out in Halfords when The Leader inquired.  

Local publican and councillor Jerry O’Dea says the use of home breathalysers is “very topical” at the moment.

He explained that there appears to be an increase in the use of such products, particularly for the average man who “has to be in work for 8am” the following morning.

The upsurge in the purchase of the devices follows an increase in garda checkpoints, as well as the tightening of drink driving laws. 

Drinkaware CEO Sheena Hogan warned users that the standards applied to the manufacturing of these devices is not the same as those applied to the technology used by gardaí.

“The reality is that these off-the-shelf breathalysers are not developed using the same medical and safety technology standards as those used by officials like An Garda Síochána,” she stated.

 Despite this, a staff member of the local Boots store explained that they were very popular and that they “haven’t been able to get them in, in two weeks”.

Cllr O’Dea who is also a member of the Vintners’ Federation of Ireland said he “welcomes any technology that helps people to make the right decision”.

France originally brought the home breathalyser kit into the public domain when it changed its own road safety laws in 2012, making it compulsory to carry one in your car at all times, with sanctions for those who don’t.

Coinciding with the increase in popularity of home breathalysers has been the “marked increase in demand” for non-alcoholic beverages, Cllr O’Dea added.

He said that both non-alcoholic beer and wine have been much sought-after in recent times, with all major breweries now competing in this niche market.