What is the Problem with Using a Breathalyzer?

bAcross the nation, it is illegal for anyone to operate a moving vehicle if the concentration of alcohol in their blood, or Blood Alcohol Content (BAC), is above 0.08%. Law Enforcement in all 50 states is cracking down on those driving under the influence to ensure safety on our roads. A valuable tool they use to weed out the drunk drivers is the breathalyzer. However, recent studies have shown the measurement of what they are exhaling into the device may not be as accurate as it should be.

There are various elements that can play a part in a miscalculation of a breath test. Things such as a bad battery, an excited amount of breathing, or even a recent burp can throw off an individual’s actual BAC. Research is starting to show that any of these contributing factors could determine whether someone goes home on their own or in the back of a patrol car.

Rate of metabolism

The rate at which a human body absorbs alcohol is different for everyone. Some people may have a lower alcohol metabolism, meaning that their body may still be trying to absorb the alcohol they just ingested, which causes them to give off a higher BAC reading. If someone does in fact get tested while their body is still absorbing their last drink, it could cause them to blow out an invalid reading on their test. This in turn could play a part in whether or not they have a DUI on their record.


How a person breathes can play a significant role in the different alcohol levels they will show in a breathalyzer test. For example, if someone were to hold their breath for 30 seconds, it would cause the device to give off a higher reading than what is actually in their system. On the contrary, if a person were to breathe heavily almost to the point of hyperventilation they may have a significant drop in their BAC reading. Research has shown that breath tests can vary up to 15% from the actual Blood Alcohol Content.

Residual alcohol in the mouth

If someone has taken their last drink within a short period of time, they may have residual alcohol lining the inside of their mouth. This causes their reading to be much higher than the amount that is truly exhaled by their lungs. Other substances that contain small amounts of alcohol like mouthwash, breath fresheners and flue/cold medicine can also play a part in a Breathalyzer giving off a false reading.

Belching, hiccupping, or vomiting

Much like having residual alcohol in the mouth, these natural reactions from your body can also throw off a breathalyzer test, making it seem that you have been drinking more than you did. Attorneys have pointed out that if any of these have occurred within 20 minutes of being tested, you may have a misleading concentration of alcohol vapors in your mouth that will give out a higher than normal reading.


The majority of Breathalyzers need to be re-calibrated every six to twelve months to ensure that their reading is as accurate as possible. However, a failure to do so for an extended period of time can cause the device to give a skewed reading. Low batteries in the device can also produce inaccurate readings.

Drinking and driving is of course a problem. However, getting arrested for an inaccurate reading on a breathalyzer test is also a problem. An errant mistake or a flaw in a number of variables can be the difference between you being home sound asleep or being put behind bars.

Sladen West is a freelance writer dedicated to helping others stay safe through general auto safety education and a good online defensive driving course.

Free Colorblindness Test

We recently discovered my co-worker, an adult male, was colorblind (funny for us, not for him)….

Doctors today are still using the Ishihara Color Blindness Test that consists of 38 circles that are patterned with dots. In the center of each circle, the color of the dots are shaded various colors to display a hidden number. If the person being tested fails to find the numbers in the circles then he or she would be considered as someone with a form of colorblindness.

While a large number of doctors use the test, only one has legit “treatment”. Dr. Thomas Azman has created the Color Correction System, which finds the missing wavelength of light to design color correct lenses for those who suffer from colorblindness, giving them the ability to see colors and pass the Ishihara Colorblind test! People travel from all over the world to receive Dr. Azman’s treatment and are always thrilled with the results.

Treatment is available from Dr. Thomas Azman of Azman Eye Care. Check out their website for a free color vision deficiency test.

Durham NC Development Changes

Durham, NC, city council members made two decisions last week that made an impact on development and on zoning in Durham.

The first issue they voted on and approved was the revision of the Unified Development Ordinance, UDO. The ordinance had been revised so that it was in line with state law regarding development proposals.

The InterNeighborhood Council, INC opposed the UDO revision. That group requested that the city council delay voting until their suggestions could be included in the UDO. One of INCs concerns was that the revised UDO would not allow citizens the right to have input into proposed development in their neighborhoods. They maintained that citizens had a right to be notified and to be heard about matters that affected them. Some citizens also voiced concerns that the revised UDO would allow the approval of cell-phone tower installations in their neighborhoods without their knowledge or input.

According to the Durham News, Durham’s planning director Steve Medlin stated that he expects city and county officials to allow his department to re-modify the UDO and submit it for approval in the fall. In the meantime, Medlin indicated that he and his senior planner Michael Stock would make it their policy to notify citizens in neighborhoods that would be affected by requests for cell-phone tower approvals.

The city council denied a rezoning request from Nickolaos Bourbous regarding his property at 2125 Guess Road. It is currently zoned as office, but Bourbous has been unable to lease the property to anyone for that purpose. According to Durham News, Bourbous indicated that the property is vacant and a target for criminals and others. He feels that if the property was rezoned for commercial use he could find a tenant.

Neighbors of Bourbous’ property opposed the rezoning. Their position was that commercial zoning could allow the property to be used for purposes that were undesirable in their neighborhood.

This post was brought to you by Trinity Commons at Erwin, luxury apartments near Duke Medical Center in downtown Durham.

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