Driving Drug and Alcohol Test: What Is Its Purpose?
15 August, 2023
Driving drug and alcohol tests serve the purpose of addressing the risks of impaired driving caused by substance use. In New Zealand, substance impairment contributes to 30% of fatal crashes. Therefore, law enforcement enforces stricter regulations to detect drivers impaired by alcohol or drugs. By using breathalyser devices, police can measure drivers’ Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). Similarly, random roadside testing checks for illicit drug use using oral fluid tests.
In New Zealand, it is illegal to drive with a BAC of 0.05% or more. When people have a high BAC level, it affects their senses, perception, and coordination needed for safe driving. If individuals are caught exceeding the legal alcohol limit, they can face criminal charges. Therefore, many people choose to have a breath alcohol tester to help drive responsibly. This article will present various drug and alcohol tests, who needs to take them, and how they measure BAC.
Driving Drug and Alcohol Test Methods
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) poses risks to road safety. Consequently, law enforcement agencies have implemented various driving drug and alcohol test methods. One such example method is the Compulsory Breath Test (CBT). This test allows police to check a driver’s breath for alcohol without needing a specific reason. At checkpoints, drivers need to provide a breath sample through a breathalyser. This device quickly displays the BAC levels.
Law enforcement also utilises the Mobile Breath Test (MBT). Mobile patrols actively conduct breath tests on drivers who exhibit signs of alcohol intoxication. This approach has proven effective in apprehending numerous impaired drivers. It enables officers to quickly identify and take necessary action against individuals who pose a risk on the roads.
Lastly, the oral fluid test collects a saliva sample to check for drug use. This test can identify the presence of abused drugs. Positive results indicate the presence of illegal drugs. Moreover, it can also detect recent alcohol consumption within the past 24 hours. Overall, the purpose of these tests is to mitigate the risk involved with impaired driving.
Effects of Substance Use While Driving
- Drowsiness makes it hard to stay awake and focused while driving, increasing the chance of accidents.
- Impaired vision blurs or doubles what people see, making it difficult for them to see the road.
- Reduced reaction times and coordination slow down an individual’s ability to react quickly and coordinate movements.
- Reduced concentration makes it hard to stay focused, resulting in poor decision-making and higher risks.
- Ignoring or breaking driving and road rules often happens due to impaired judgement, leading drivers to disregard traffic regulations.
- Increased aggression intensifies hostile tendencies, causing road rage incidents and engaging in risky behaviour.
Who Needs to Take a Driving Drug and Alcohol Test
There are several situations where individuals need to take driving drug and alcohol tests. When it comes to alcohol screening, drivers should be aware of their alcohol limits to avoid penalties. For drivers aged 20 years and above, the limit is 0.05% BAC, while those under 20 must have a zero alcohol limit. Moreover, law enforcement authorities can conduct these tests at any time.
Moreover, these tests are important in certain situations. Firstly, for public transport, drivers operating public vehicles must pass a drug and alcohol test. Additionally, in the case of private cars, police officers conduct screening tests on all drivers passing through sobriety checkpoints. This helps to identify any impaired drivers on the road.
Furthermore, after an accident, drug and alcohol tests determine if an individual consumed illegal substances that contributed to the mishap. Lastly, people who hold a Commercial Driver’s license (CDL) are required to undergo these tests. This applies to those operating heavy vehicles such as trucks, forklifts, and construction machines.
Failed Test Result: What to Expect
People that go beyond the legal alcohol limit while driving could face serious penalties. These include up to three months of imprisonment, fines, and a minimum of six months without a driver’s license. The severity of the punishment may vary depending on the level of impairment.
In certain situations, individuals may choose not to take a breath screening test. However, they will still be required to undergo an evidential breath test. The results can be presented as evidence of the person’s BAC in court. Nevertheless, if the individual refuses the evidential breath test, they will be subjected to a blood test instead.
Driving Drug and Alcohol Test: BAC Checking
Driving drug and alcohol tests can determine the BAC after consuming alcohol. These include breath, blood, saliva, and urine tests. Among these options, the breath test is the most convenient. It involves using a portable electronic device called breathalyser. These devices analyse the breath sample by reacting with alcohol present in the exhaled air.
In addition, police officers employ breathalysers during roadside alcohol screening. These devices utilise advanced fuel cell sensors to measure the BAC accurately. Furthermore, personal breathalysers have become more affordable. Thus, it allows individuals to monitor their BAC levels and avoid significant impairment. Products such as BACtrack from Breathalysers New Zealand provide consumers with high-precision results similar to those obtained by police units.
Moreover, checking one’s BAC helps prevent intoxication while operating a vehicle. While other methods like urine, saliva, and blood tests can also measure BAC, they require laboratory analysis. Besides, these alternative methods are more invasive and often have a longer turnaround time to deliver results than breathalysers.
Benefits of Personal Breathalysers
Personal breathalysers offer several benefits. Firstly, they help individuals monitor their alcohol consumption and prevent their BAC from reaching dangerous levels. Secondly, these devices provide rapid results within just 15 seconds. Thus, it allows people to promptly assess their BAC before getting behind the wheel.
Additionally, personal breathalysers are designed to be user-friendly with a one-touch function. Users simply need to blow into the device, and it will quickly display their BAC level. Furthermore, these devices do not require any invasive methods like needles or blood samples. Hence, it makes them more convenient and easy to access.
The purpose of driving drug and alcohol tests is to ensure road safety and prevent accidents caused by impaired driving. These tests such as CBT, MBT, and oral fluid tests help law enforcement identify and take necessary action against offenders. Moreover, people need to undergo these tests in certain situations. These include operating public transport private vehicles, after accidents, and commercial drivers operating heavy vehicles.
Drug and alcohol tests can determine a person’s BAC. The most convenient method is the breath test, which uses portable devices called breathalysers. They analyse breath samples to measure BAC accurately. Also, police officers utilise these tools for roadside alcohol screening. Moreover, personal breathalysers are available for individuals looking to check their own BAC. These devices provide rapid results within seconds and a user-friendly one-touch function. For people interested in reliable breathalysers, they may consider BACtrack from Breathalysers New Zealand.