Different Methods of Alcohol Testing: Breath, Blood, Urine & Saliva
Car accidents are one of the leading causes of deaths in the United States. Unfortunately, majority of these vehicular accidents are often associated with drivers who are highly intoxicated with alcoholic substance. As a result, a number of alcohol testing methods have been used throughout the country by highway patrol officials to determine the level of alcohol in the body of a driver.
This is the most common form of alcohol testing used by highway patrol officials. A driver suspected to be under the influence of alcohol breathes through a mouthpiece. The approximate amount of alcohol is then compared to a chart providing the range of what the state would consider as the “legal alcohol level.”
It is the most favored method by highway officials because:
• The components are disposable so the same device could be used by just simply changing the mouthpiece
• Provides fast and reliable readings
• It is very easy to use
• Affordable for the government’s budget
• Portable so it could be easily administered anywhere
Blood Alcohol Concentration Test
For this test, the concentration level of alcohol in the blood stream that is measured and compared against a chart to determine the level of intoxication of the person. The test determines the concentration of alcohol in the body by drawing a sample of blood and testing it with the use of Gas Chromatography. It is commonly used by forensic scientists during autopsies. One of the drawbacks of using this method is that it takes some time before the results are derived.
Urine Alcohol Test
Any alcohol that is consumed within the past 2 hours would be passed as urine by the person’s body. This is the most unreliable means of testing the level of alcohol in the body of a person because of the following reasons:
• It is only effective 2 hours from the time that the person consumes an alcoholic beverage because it would need first to be metabolized by the body. So even if the person might be physically impaired by alcohol, the alcohol urine test can still show alcohol levels that are within the legal limit.
• The amount of alcohol in the urine is dependent on how fast a person’s body systems are able to eliminate alcohol from the body.
• The urine sample of a person with a high level of sugar in his or her body would have the same result as an intoxicated person even if the person has not consumed any alcohol.
Saliva Alcohol Testing
Just like breath alcohol testing, this method uses disposable devices to determine the level of alcohol in a person’s body. Many experts have found a direct relationship between the level of alcohol in a person’s saliva and in the blood. However, this is the most sensitive form of testing method because the reliability of the test can be affected by air temperatures. This could result in false readings or even make the device useless, especially when used during the summer months.