Alcohol remains one of the top most abused mind-altering substances in America. Parents, spouses and employers alike should always be mindful of the effects produced by alcohol. These include speech, vision and gross motor impairment, to name a few. Also, I think we would all agree that eliminating drunk drivers from our streets would be ideal. Unfortunately, we will probably never be able to achieve that goal. Research has determined that about 38% of all traffic related deaths are related to alcohol. The most common roadside sobriety tests include asking the driver to touch their nose and/or walk a straight line. While many of these drivers can pass those two tests, their blood alcohol content may still be above the legal limit of 0.08% (formally 0.10%) in most states.

Breath tests offer the latest technology to determine blood alcohol content (BAC). When a person consumes alcoholic beverages, the alcohol will show up in the breath because alcohol is absorbed by the mouth, throat, stomach, intestines and then into the bloodstream for further digestion. Having said this, the use of the breath test is the preferred method in that it prevents having to draw blood or collect a urine sample to test alcohol content. Breath tests can be performed anywhere, anytime and with instant results. Keep in mind that a breath test is a valuable tool when attempting to confirm or rule out alcohol consumption in teenagers, employees, spouses, etc.

When measuring blood alcohol content with the breath test, the person simply breathes through a mouthpiece into the device. The breath test will then yield a percentage rating.

The following describes each percentage:

0.00 – 0.01%: Sober, legally non-inebriated
0.02 – 0.03%: Slight euphoria, generally no loss of coordination.
0.04 – 0.06%: Feeling of well-being, relaxation, impairment of reasoning and memory and lowering of caution/inhibition.
0.07 – 0.09%: Impairment of balance, speech, vision, reaction time and hearing.
0.10 – 0.12%: Significant impairment of motor coordination and loss of good judgment. Slurred speech.
0.13 – 0.15%: Gross impairment of motor coordination, blurred vision, slight dysphoria.
0.16 – 0.24%: Predominant dysphoria, nausea, appearance of a “sloppy drunk”.
0.25 – 0.29%: Total mental confusion, nausea, vomiting and unable to walk without assistance.
0.30 – 0.39%: Loss of consciousness.
0.40% +: Onset of coma. Possible death due to respiratory arrest.

Note: The above figures are estimations as each individual has different metabolisms and therefore may exhibit different levels of impairment.

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