What Are the Factors That Can Influence Breathalyzer Accuracy?


Breathalyzers are always used to measure the blood alcohol concentration or BAC level of a suspected drunk driver. If the BAC level goes beyond the standard limit, the suspect may be charged with DUI, brought to the police department, and booked.

You can cry all that you want and say that the breathalyzer was inaccurate if you think it can help you get out of your predicament, and you’re right. There really are many factors that can influence the accuracy of a breathalyzer, and here are just some of them.

Improper Calibration

Most breathalyzers utilize a silicon oxide sensor, which is the component that measures the BAC level. For it to be accurate, it has to be calibrated either by using the dry gas method or the wet bath method, both of which has to be done only by an expert who knows how to use the right equipment for the calibration. They will check the device’s internal settings and adjust it accordingly. They will compare the results until they achieve the appropriate alcohol standard, and they will also be the ones who will replace the sensors.

Letting an untrained person calibrate the device can easily lead to inaccuracies. It can also lead to contamination of the sensors, resulting to inaccurate readings.

Medical Conditions

Breathalyzer results can also be affected by the suspect’s medical condition, some examples of which include diabetes and acid reflux disease. In diabetics, it is the acetone that causes a high BAC level in breathalyzer tests; while in individuals who suffer from acid reflux disease, it is the ethanol content.

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