In Pennsylvania, officers sometimes pull drivers over in a routine traffic stop. If they suspect you of DUI, they will likely have you take a blood alcohol content (BAC) level detection test. Though breath tests are the most well-known, they are not the only ones. Today we will discuss blood alcohol tests and their accuracy.
According to the National Institutes of Health, blood alcohol tests are one of the most accurate tools for detecting BAC levels. Breath tests are faster, but blood alcohol tests have less factors that could interfere with a result.
Even so, blood alcohol tests can still have factors that affect it. Human error is a potential factor. Overworked and understaffed labs make mistakes. There have been instances where technicians mix up blood samples or test results and give them to the wrong individuals. Sample contamination can also occur. Additionally, if a technician leaves your blood sample stored incorrectly, it can begin to coagulate. This will affect the BAC level reading.
One of the biggest weaknesses of breath tests is the fact that eating certain foods or drinks can influence the results. However, your physical health and diet can affect blood tests. Those with diabetes or diseases that result in high ketones can have high BAC levels despite not drinking alcohol. Consuming cough or cold medication or even just eating cough drops can also cause a high BAC level reading.
These are important factors to keep in mind going forward. While blood tests may be more accurate in some ways, they are not completely foolproof even in court.