We read and hear about drivers who met accidents because of being drunk and were later charged with drunk driving. The legal limit for alcohol level in one's blood is 0.18. How can police officers determine this alcohol level in one's blood?
There are different types of alcohol level testing devices. The three major types all rely on the drunken person's breath based on different principles. Each device uses a mouthpiece or tube where the drunken suspect is asked to blow air.
- A breathalyzer uses a substance reaction on alcohol that creates a color change. This breath alcohol testing device determines the blood alcohol concentration or BAC in drivers who are suspected to be drunk.
- An intoxilyzer uses infrared or IR spectroscopy to detect alcohol.
- The Alcosensor III or IV examines the fuel cell in order to detect the alcohol's chemical reaction.
Each of the above alcohol testing devices may be used by police officers to confirm the drunkenness of a suspect. To use them, the following principles may be considered.
- When somebody drinks alcohol, the mouth, stomach, throat, and intestines absorb the alcohol in the bloodstream. Absorption is different from digestion. Digestion involves a chemical change on the food that one eats, while in absorption there is no chemical change on the alcohol that enters the body through the bloodstream.
- While the blood, which is already alcohol-laced, circulates all the way to the lungs, some alcohol travels across and fades away into the air in the lungs. This strength of the alcohol in the air is in proportion to the strength of the alcohol in the blood. So by testing the breath, a police officer could tell whether a driver could be arrested.
- The alcohol level testing device can make possible the calculation of the blood alcohol concentration.
The American Medical Association found out that when a person's blood alcohol level is 0.05% that person could become weak and therefore driving is not recommended. The typical 0.08% lawful standards for driving while under the influence of alcohol means that 0.08% gram of alcohol is present in every 100 milliliters of blood.
Not only police officers should know how to use an alcohol level testing device. Every one of us could convince drunk drivers to not drive for public safety purposes. Although any test could be passed by a drunk driver, if the alcohol level in his blood is more than the legal limit, the drunk driver can still be considered a hazard on the road. Police officers should use the latest technology to detect alcohol levels in suspected drunk drivers.
Be aware, however, that using any alcohol level testing device in analyzing and identifying the quantity of alcohol present in the blood is often difficult because the body breaks it down so fast.