Five Things You Should Know About Alcohol Breath Test

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A breathalyzer test determines the alcohol content in your blood by counting the amount of alcohol in the air after you breathe out. Then, a device is used to measure the estimated alcohol level in your blood. That number is known as blood alcohol content or BAC. It usually goes up after 15 minutes of drinking and reaches its peak after an hour or so.

You tend to get clumsy, and your responses get delayed as your BAC level rises. You also lose control over your motor skills, making driving very dangerous. It is almost illegal for an individual to drive under the influence of alcohol. However, most states have a permissible BAC level somewhere around 0.05% to 0.08%.

In speeding, accidents or weaving, the police may use a device known as a Breathalyzer to conduct a Federal Regulation alcohol breath test. It is to test if you are driving under the influence of alcohol. These breathalyzers are either automatic or manual. However, most police officers carry the electric one, which looks like a walkie-talkie. You need to just blow into the mouthpiece, and the device provides a close reading.

In case the police use a breathalyzer to test you, and your result is above the permissible level of 0.08%, you will be charged with drunk driving and might get arrested as well. To ascertain a more accurate result, you may be asked to provide a urine or blood sample for testing it further. So it is better to take a taxi home if you have been drinking to avoid any unpleasant situations.

Here are five things that you should know about the alcohol blood test to take precautionary measures if you plan to drive under the influence of alcohol. But, you should never get behind the wheels when drunk because you are putting your and also other’s life at risk.


Working Mechanism of a Breathalyzer

A breathalyzer is a device used to detect the alcohol content level in the bloodstream. The police mainly use breathalyzer on drivers to ensure that they aren’t driving under the influence of alcohol.

Breathalyzer uses one of the three technologies, fuel cell sensor, spectrophotometer or semiconductor oxide sensor, to check the blood alcohol content. These machines determine the intoxication level by measuring the alcohol present in the bloodstream. Although the permissible limit is 0.08%, there have been instances where drivers have shown signs of poor driving or intoxication by staying below the permissible limit too.

Factors determining BAC levels

  • The BAC level is determined by several factors many people don’t know. Age, height, weight, gender, muscle mass, metabolism, food consumption and body fat affects the rate at which alcohol enters the body. Let’s take a closer look at each one of them.
  • Age: Unfortunately, age brings a significant vulnerability to the effects of alcohol. It seems that older people tend to get drunk easily.
  • Gender: Generally, women reach higher blood alcohol levels than men, even when they have consumed the same amount of alcohol. This is because the water content in women is less than in men, and alcohol is a water-soluble substance.
  • Weight, body fat and muscle mass: The BAC level will be lower in people with more body fat. Consuming food also reduces the rise in BAC as it slows down the absorption of alcohol in the blood.
  • Metabolism: The speed of your body to process alcohol is directly proportional to the speed of metabolism.


The results of Breathalyzer tests are not always correct

There have been many cases where the breathalyzer reports were wrong and showed much higher levels of BAC. In addition, there are a few cases where the Breathalyzer showed a high blood alcohol content level because the individual had used mouthwash or ate pasta prepared with red wine before getting behind their wheels.

This puts the person driving the car in a compromising position as he is charged with legal penalties and fines.

If you refuse to comply with a breathalyzer test, you may lose your license

Almost every country has some implied consent laws. This means that you are implying your consent for the breath test if the police officer ordered you to do it while driving. So if you refuse to cooperate with the officer who is ordering you a breathalyzer test, you will be facing legal consequences.

While the fines may be different depending on your behavior, it is pretty much certain that your license will be suspended. The license suspension period can last for months or even years in some cases.

Refusing the breathalyzer test is considered evidence of guilt by most police officers. This, combined with drunken behavior, is enough for the officers to issue DUI to the driver.

You can be issued a DUI (driving under the influence) even under the permissible limit

If a driver is driving recklessly, overspeeding or showing any signs of intoxication, the officers can issue a DUI, even if his BAC is under the permissible level. So, it is advisable to have a designated driver who doesn’t drink if you plan to go out partying or drinking. You don’t want to be pressed with charges and fines, even when you were under the permissible limit.


The breathalyzer is one of the most popular devices used to check the alcohol levels in the blood. Believe it or not, it is hardly non-functional, hence the popularity of the device and the test itself across the world. Hence, the takeaway from here is not to drive under the influence of alcohol, even if you think you are under the permissible limit.






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