One of my colleagues hates durians. I, on the other hand, like it enough to read a 128-page thesis and write a 4000-word article on it.
But lovers or haters, we all know that a durian smells.
In fact, it smells so much that breathalysers find it smelly too.
Here’s What Happened
A man in China failed a breathalyser test after eating some durians, as shown on Chinese website Pear Video. And no, he didn’t eat the red durian.
He was dragged in by the police to do a blood test, which later proved that there was no alcohol in his system.
Though I want to believe they hid the truth that a Durian superhero saved him from injustice instead.
The full video can be found here, but here’s what happened after letting the driver go.
Police Tried Durian With Breathalyser
A police officer ate this amount of durians then took the test, registering an alcohol level of 36mg per 100ml. China’s blood-alcohol concentration limit for driving is 0.02 per cent (about 20ml per 100ml), so in a sense, he was “drunk”.
Three minutes later he took the test again, and it turned 0.
Needless to say, Chinese netizens weren’t too happy about the police wasting people’s time.
Other things can fail breathalysers too
I want to say the other things are only limited to the picture below, but it can’t be further from the truth.
Some may remember a Pilbara trucker showing the effects of eating hot cross buns on breathalysers.
Breathalysers will detect any substance with the methyl group of compounds. And this is quite a problem when methyl compounds are present in vinegar and the breath of people suffering from diabetes.
This means that if I eat Bak Chor Mee and Teh Peng, it automatically makes me more alcoholic in the noses of the breathalyser.
Lychees, mouthwash, orange juice, white bread, hot sauce, vanilla extract, sugarless gum and ripe fruit can all cause breathalysers to detect alcohol.
Oh, you have acid reflux? That also increases the inaccuracy.
Just took IPPT? Temperature also fluctuates the readings.
Hell, maybe you have none of those. But I’m pretty sure you own a smartphone. Yah, electrical interference from smartphones can also affect the numbers.
In the bread example, it’s likely that yeast in the bread created small amounts of alcohol. And if you didn’t know, yeast is also used to make beer and wine.
When it almost feels like almost everything can cause the breathalysers to not work, you can see why netizens were angry.
Breathalysers are pretty outdated
The modern version of breathalysers is actually a technology created in 1954. While using old technology is generally fine, it isn’t quite so when it doesn’t frigging work.
By doesn’t work, I mean that the margin of error for portable breathalysers to be up to 15%, and up to 23% of drivers wrongly accused of drink driving (in the USA).
I can’t help but wonder if relying too much on old technology as evidence is a sign of competence.
But hey: just remember, if you’re innocent there’s nothing to be afraid of.
I mean, a cop can definitely smell the difference between alcohol and durian, right?
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