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Blood Alcohol Testing Methods

13 January, 2022

Alcohol has a noticeable effect on the body. A high amount can impair your senses and motor functions quickly, making driving or operating machinery dangerous. Alcohol impairments are one of the leading causes of road crashes or workplace accidents. Therefore, law enforcers and employers regularly provide alcohol tests on the road and in workplaces to prevent accidents. The common types of alcohol testing are breath, urine, or blood tests. A blood alcohol test is the most accurate method to measure the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in a person. However, blood alcohol testing methods through blood sampling are also the most intrusive. In most cases, blood sampling is also the longest to process among the other types of blood alcohol tests.

An alcohol test through a breathalyser measures the BAC through a sample breath. Breath alcohol tests are the most done tests in roadside and workplace testing. Police officers and employers prefer breath tests because they are quick to perform and are still highly reliable. BACtrack workplace and personal breathalysers, for example, only need 10 to 15 seconds to process the breath samples. Breathalysers are accurate enough that even police officers rely on them to help keep the roads safer. The results from the blood alcohol testing methods done by police officers and employers can also be evidence in court.

Commonly Done Blood Alcohol Testing Methods

Alcohol blood tests through blood sampling measure the alcohol (ethanol), biomarkers, or metabolites in the blood. Unlike breathalyser tests, blood alcohol testing methods with blood samples are more stringent. Firstly, a trained professional draws out a blood sample to examine alcohol, usually from the arm. The blood sample is then taken to a laboratory for analysis following a strict protocol or a chain of custody. It may take several hours or a few business days for your results to be ready. Since blood alcohol tests are invasive, they require a certified sample collector. On the other hand, all you must do in a breath test is provide a sturdy blow into the mouthpiece. BACtrack breathalysers are also easy to use with their one-touch operations. The device would be ready for testing with just a press of a button.

How long can the blood alcohol testing methods provide adequate data? A breathalyser can detect alcohol up to 12 hours after last consumption, but that also depends on the amount consumed. A blood test with blood samples can trace alcohol up to 24 hours after the last drink. Despite its clear advantages, blood sampling is still not commonly done. The reason for this is mainly because breathalysers are easier to carry around. BACtrack personal breathalysers vary in size, but all of them could conveniently fit in your pocket.

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