Alcohol Breath Testing: A Deep Analysis #2022

Most people enjoy going out or partying, and many like to consume alcohol. Alcohol is consumed widely worldwide. Some people occasionally drink while others consume it regularly. However, drinking alcohol in excess may cause health problems in the long run. Alcohol must be consumed within the limit and of good quality. When you drink too much alcohol, you can experience dizziness, blackouts, loss of balance, etc.

It is not considered safe to drive after consuming alcohol. It may cause a risk for your life and others, along with vehicle damage. Therefore, you may have seen police patrolling at night, especially near pubs and bars. The police conduct alcohol breath tests on the road to prevent such drunk driving cases.

The following signs or behavior can make you a drunk suspect:

  • Loss of balance
  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired judgment
  • Confusion
  • Vomiting

What is Alcohol Breath Testing?

An alcohol breath test can measure the amount of alcohol through the breath of the suspected person. When alcohol is consumed, it gets absorbed by the blood, transferring it to the lungs and the brain. Hence, when the person breathes, alcohol is exhaled.

The test will calculate the amount of alcohol present in the person’s breath. The amount of alcohol is calculated in Breath Alcohol Content (BAC).


How is the Alcohol Breath Test done?

The police patrol the road to keep a check on drunk drivers. If they suspect that the driver might be drunk, they stop the car for a screening test. The driver blows into a disposable mouthpiece, and the screening device shows the result in a minute.

The device has 4 test results:

  • Zero
  • Pass
  • Warn
  • Fail

Is the Alcohol Breath Test accurate?

The breath test might not be accurate. It is because the level of alcohol present in the breath is impacted by various factors such as:

  • Time: If you take the test after 15 minutes of having a drink, the test results would be impacted and inaccurate.
  • Smoking: Smoking can impact the traces of alcohol in the breath.
  • Mouth Fresheners: Mouth fresheners reduce the odor of the alcohol, and therefore, the person might go unsuspected. Also, some fresheners have alcohol in them to inflate the back levels.


Are the BAC levels the same for everyone?

The BAC levels depend on various factors and may differ from person to person. However, the following factors may be responsible for the same:

  • Weight: People having more weight have a higher amount of water present in their bodies. Hence, the alcohol gets more diluted in their bodies.
  • Gender: Men can process alcohol faster than women due to the higher levels of stomach enzymes. Women process it slower due to more fat and hormonal changes.
  • Food: High-protein foods slow down the processing of alcohol in the body.
  • Drinks: The number and type of drinks impact the BAC in the body.

BAC Levels: Legal Limit

The legal limit of drunk driving may differ from country to country. Some countries have zero tolerance for drunk driving and maintain 0% BAC levels as the legal limit to drive. The legal limit for BAC in some countries are:

  • USA – 0.08%
  • UK – 0.08%
  • Australia – 0.05%
  • Germany – 0.05%
  • China – 0.02%
  • India – 0.03%
  • United Arab Emirates – 0%
  • Russia – 0.02%
  • France – 0.05%

The BAC limit may vary for different drivers in the same country. For example, the BAC levels are lower for some countries’ new or public transport drivers. Therefore, you must check the BAC levels of the country before drinking and driving. However, it is always ideal to not drink and drive.

What happens to the body at different BAC levels?

The more a person consumes alcohol, the more the symptoms of alcoholism increase. You may experience the following symptoms at different BAC levels:

  • 0.03% – Your judgment and vision might be impacted.
  • 0.05% – You are at a stage of losing control and might be less alert.
  • 0.08% – You would lose balance and cannot stand straight.
  • 0.010% – Your balance, reaction, and judgment would be poor.
  • 0.20% – You would be confused and may throw up.
  • 0.40% – It is a life-threatening condition.

When can a person be tested for BAC?

You may have to undergo the alcohol screening test in the following circumstances:

  • Drunk Driving: If the police suspect you are not driving correctly, they may conduct the test.
  • Public Places: Depending on the alcohol consumption limit of the country, you may have to undergo the test in a public area if your behavior is suspected.
  • Rehabilitation treatments: If you are under a rehabilitation program, especially for drugs and alcohol, you may have to undergo the test.
  • Surgery: In case of suspicion before a medical procedure, the hospital may conduct a test.
  • Alcohol Poisoning: If you are too drunk and might be in a life-threatening condition, the hospital would conduct this test to confirm alcohol poisoning.



It is essential to drink responsibly for everyone’s safety. The screening tests are done for precaution and to avoid any mishappenings. If you are partying and know that you would be drinking, avoid driving yourself home. You can enjoy it without causing any harm.


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