Breath alcohol testing is a common practice used to determine the alcohol content of an individual’s breath. This type of testing is used by law enforcement agencies, employers, and other organizations to detect alcohol-impaired drivers, investigate potential workplace safety risks, and evaluate compliance with court orders or regulatory requirements. Being familiar with a breath alcohol testing protocol can help ensure accurate results and provide important legal protection for those administering the tests.
Based on the specifics of the situation, breath alcohol tests are always administered with a person who has done dot breath alcohol technician training. In fact, breath alcohol technicians (BATs) must be certified to conduct these tests legally. This certification process involves a comprehensive background check, application submission and review, training coursework, passing an examination, and payment of applicable fees. Once certified, BATs are then responsible for properly administering the tests based on established protocols.
Standardized Procedures for Performing Breath Alcohol Tests
In order to provide accurate and reliable results, breath alcohol tests must always be conducted according to established protocols. Here are standardized procedures for performing breath alcohol tests which should always be followed.
1. Setting up the Test Environment
Prior to administering the test, BATs should ensure the testing environment is properly set up. This includes preparing an area that is well-ventilated and free of distractions and arranging all necessary materials (e.g., breathalyzer device, mouthpiece).
2. Preparing the Test Subject
The person being tested should be instructed to stand still and not talk during the test. If a mouthpiece is being used, it should be cleaned with an alcohol swab before being inserted into the breathalyzer device. In most times, the subject will be asked to blow into the device for a minimum of five seconds.
3. Calibrating the Breathalyzer
The BAT should then calibrate the breathalyzer device using a calibration solution. This involves running multiple tests with the same solution to ensure accuracy. Aside from the calibration solution, other chemicals (e.g., glycerin) may be used to test the accuracy of the device.
4. Administering the Test
The test subject should then be instructed to exhale into the mouthpiece of the breathalyzer for at least five seconds. Upon completion of the test, the BAT should read and record the result, as well as provide a copy of the printed results to the subject.
5. Documenting the Results
The BAT should document all relevant information in regard to the breath alcohol test, including the results, date, time, and name of the person tested. This documentation serves as important legal protection for both the test subject and the administrator.
By following these protocols, organizations and individuals can ensure the accuracy of their breath alcohol tests and protect themselves from potential legal issues. With proper training, testing administrators can help ensure that the results of their tests are accurate and reliable.
Technology Used in Breath Alcohol Testing
In recent years, the technology used in breath alcohol testing has advanced significantly. From handheld devices to digitalized cloud platforms, a variety of tools are now available to help organizations and individuals accurately administer these tests. Here is an overview of the most popular types of breath alcohol testing technologies:
Evidential Breath Alcohol Tests
Evidential breath alcohol tests (EBTs) are the most common type of breath alcohol testing technology. These devices use infrared spectrophotometry, a process that measures and analyzes molecules by passing them through a beam of light, to detect the presence of alcohol in the air. EBTs can provide accurate results within minutes and have become increasingly popular in both the public and private sectors.
Portable Breath Alcohol Tests
Portable breath alcohol tests (PBTs) are small handheld devices that measure the amount of alcohol in a person’s breath. These devices are becoming increasingly popular due to their ease of use and portability, allowing users to administer tests from nearly any location quickly.
Passive and Non-Evidential Tests
Passive and non-evidential breath alcohol tests are devices that require no active participation from the test subject. Instead, these devices measure alcohol levels in the air by detecting traces of ethanol molecules in a person’s exhalation. While these devices provide less accurate results than EBTs, they are often used for situations where an evidential test is not possible.
Many organizations are now turning to digital platforms to manage their breath alcohol testing program. These cloud-based systems allow for efficient data management and reporting, allowing users to see important information about their tests and results quickly. Additionally, these systems provide additional layers of security, ensuring that only authorized personnel can access the data.
Considerations When Choosing a Breath Alcohol Testing Method
The cost of breath alcohol testing technology will vary based on the type of device and how many tests are being administered. Organizations should consider their budget when selecting a testing method to ensure they can afford the equipment and other related costs.
The results’ accuracy is important for legal protection and employee safety. This will depend on the type of device used, but generally speaking, EBTs provide the highest accuracy.
3. Intended Use
The type of breath alcohol test needs to be considered when selecting a testing method. For example, EBTs are typically used in law enforcement settings where evidential results are required, while PBTs are better suited for use by private companies.
4. Legal Requirements
Different countries and states have different laws when it comes to breath alcohol testing. Organizations should ensure they are familiar with the applicable regulations before selecting a testing method.
5. Local Regulations and Standards
It is important to ensure that any breath alcohol testing technology used meets local standards and regulations. For example, some jurisdictions have specific requirements regarding the device’s accuracy or the type of tests that can be performed.
Breath alcohol testing technology is an important tool for ensuring employee safety and protecting organizations from potential liability. When selecting a type of breath alcohol test, it is important to consider the cost, accuracy, intended use, legal requirements, and local regulations and standards that may apply. By taking these factors into account, organizations can make sure they are using the right type of breath alcohol test for their needs.