Breath Alcohol Tests - info-hero

Breath Alcohol Tests

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A breath alcohol test, commonly called a "breathalyzer" or a "BAT," is an instant screening that determines precisely how much alcohol a person has in their breath. Relying on a scientific principle known as "Henry's Law," the percent of alcohol in a person's breath can be assumed to match the percent of alcohol in that person's blood. As compared with blood alcohol tests, breath testing for alcohol is far more convenient, less painful, much faster, and just as accurate. Thus, breath alcohol testing has become the most popular method to detect if someone is intoxicated, and is widely used by employers, required by DOT, and administered by law enforcement.

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Breath Alcohol Testing - Employers

Employers often need to test a person before, during or after work to ensure safety and/or compliance with government regulations, including DOT regs. Companies may also have reasonable suspicion about the sobriety of a staff member, and may need to find out if an employee is currently intoxicated. Additionally, many companies have policies requiring immediate testing after any workplace accident, sometimes known as "for cause" testing. Finally, DOT has very specific protocols for post-accident breath alcohol testing.

Breath Testing for Alcohol - Individuals

Individuals are often required to undergo breath alcohol testing due to court orders or other legal agreements. Often, ex-spouses with known or presumed alcohol problems require one another to take breath alcohol screenings during, or just prior to, a period in which they have custody of the children. Other people, such as those who have been caught drinking and driving, are required by the court system to take ongoing, random, alcohol tests for lengthy periods of time.

Evidential Breath Testers

All breathalyzers are not created equal. The United States Department of Transportation has stringent requirements for Evidential Breath Testers (EBTs), and lists qualifying devices in the Federal Registry. To be listed on the federal registry, a breath alcohol device must distinguish acetone from alcohol. Less sophisticated devices are prone to identifying someone with diabetes, for example, as drunk, simply because there is acetone in their system. EBTs will never make that mistake. Thus, when an evidential breath test is administered properly by a certified Breath Alcohol Technician, it is impossible to get a false positive.

How are Breathalyzers Conducted

Breathalyzer tests can be done randomly, onsite at your place of business, or in one of our clinics, or post accident anywhere in the USA on a 24/7 basis. Health Street has a mobile dispatch service to administer on-site after an accident or due to reasonable suspicion or cause. It makes no sense to wait until the next morning to conduct a breathalyzer, since alcohol in the system may be gone by then.

How long does alcohol stay in your breath?

There are many myths about how long alcohol stays in your breath, and about how to sober up fast (like drinking coffee or eating french fries). Everyone is different, and body weight matters, but in general, people metabolize 1 drink about every 1-2 hours. That means if an average size person consumes 6 drinks in a night, it will take 6 to 12 hours for the alcohol to be completely gone from his or her system.

Often, after a night of heavy drinking, a person can sleep an entire night, and wake up in the morning still under the influence of alcohol. It is important to know that time is the only thing that gets rid of alcohol once it is consumed. Caffeine, greasy food, and sleep do absolutely nothing to speed things up. Urban myths and tricks about how to sober up abound in society; unfortunately, they are all false.