What is an Alcohol Breath Test?

The standard alcohol breath test consists of exhaling into a hand-held mouthpiece that is attached to a collection chamber. This chamber measures the percentage of alcohol in the blood against normal blood. Alcohol from a lung air sample (breath) has been found to have the same percentage of alcohol as that found in the blood.

If the level measures .08% of alcohol to 1ml of blood, the tested sample is considered polluted, and in many states the individual who blew into the device is considered legally drunk.

A person’s breath alcohol content can be affected by several factors which include body weight, how long they have been drinking, how many ounces and what kind of alcohol consumed, and what kinds of food they have ingested. Alcohol is absorbed by the blood stream and can be detected in the mouth, throat, stomach and intestines.

The breath alcohol test is one of the most portable ways to check out a driver’s level of impairment. Law enforcement officers carry these units in their squad cars to help get drunk drivers off the road. If a driver fails the test, they go to jail.

There is also a permanent testing device that can be installed on automobiles to prevent a drunk driver from even starting the car. This is a new, hand-held product that is wired directly to the subject’s ignition. Called the Interlock Device, it is used mostly by probation officers to enable convicted drunk drivers to travel between home and work.

This item measures the user’s blood alcohol; if it is too high, the car simply will not start. If the car starts, the monitor will request breath samples periodically to determine if the driver is drinking. If the breath alcohol level goes up, the car will begin honking and a report is sent to the monitoring facility personnel.

Currently, this machine can only be purchased by individuals that have been ordered to do so by the court after a conviction for drunk driving.

Breath alcohol testing is here to stay. The only way to beat the test is not to drink.