The science shows that the way you blow into an alcohol breath test instrument can significantly impact the test results. Thus, the difference between innocent and guilty can be a simple as bad breath.
Breathing patterns can significantly affect the accuracy of alcohol breath test results when using infrared breath test instruments. These instruments, including the Intoxilyzer 9000, are commonly used to estimate blood alcohol concentration (BAC) based on the alcohol content in a person’s breath.
However, several factors, including breathing patterns, can introduce inaccuracies into the readings, leading to potential misinterpretations of a person’s intoxication level
- Breath Volume and Duration: The volume of breath exhaled and the duration of exhalation during the test can significantly influence the results. If a person exhales more air than necessary or the officer allows you to blow too long into the breathalyzer, the instrument may not capture an accurate sample of deep lung air, leading to potentially higher alcohol readings.
- Breathing Rate and Hyperventilation: Rapid breathing or hyperventilation before taking the test can affect the body’s physiology and alter the BAC reading. Hyperventilation can lead to a temporary decrease in the blood’s carbon dioxide level, which, in turn, alters the blood-to-breath alcohol ratio, leading to inflated breath test results.
To mitigate these issues and ensure more accurate alcohol breath test results on infrared breath test instruments, several measures can be taken:
- Proper Breath Instructions: Law enforcement personnel administering the test should provide clear and standardized instructions to the individual being tested, ensuring they exhale fully and steadily for the required duration. The Michigan DUI Lawyers at the Barone Defense Firm often see officers give the wrong instructions thereby encouraging higher test results.
- Observation Period: A brief observation period before the test can help ensure the subject hasn’t recently consumed alcohol, smoked, or regurgitated, reducing the risk of mouth alcohol contamination.
- Multiple Test Attempts: Conducting multiple test attempts with an adequate time interval between each can help ensure consistency and reliability of the results, minimizing the influence of residual mouth alcohol.
- Calibration and Maintenance: Regular calibration and maintenance of the infrared breath test instruments are essential to ensure accurate readings and reliable performance.
By understanding the influence of breathing patterns on the accuracy of alcohol breath test results, law enforcement agencies and testing facilities can take appropriate steps to improve the reliability of these instruments, ensuring fair and just evaluations of individuals’ intoxication levels.