Sometimes officers in Colorado will pull aside random drivers in routine traffic stops. If an officer believes you may be under the influence, they can use tests to determine your blood alcohol content (BAC) level. Today, we will look at blood alcohol testing and how accurate it is.
The National Institutes of Health compares different tools officers use to determine BAC levels. Of these tools, blood alcohol testing was among the most efficient and error-free. This involves drawing a sample of your blood which is then sent for testing in a lab. Through direct testing, lab technicians can determine how much alcohol is in your system.
Despite its acclaimed accuracy, there are still factors that can throw off the results. For example, certain physical conditions can alter the reading. People with high ketones or diabetes have high BAC level readings even without consuming alcohol. Diet can also have an impact. This is especially true for people who have recently taken cold or cough medicine. Anything containing alcohol even in trace amounts may alter results.
Human error can also still occur. For example, an understaffed and overworked lab is more likely to make mistakes. It is not unusual for tired workers to mix samples up. They can also send results to the wrong recipients. Sometimes, a lab technician may leave a blood sample out without properly storing it. The resulting coagulation and decomposition can result in a false high BAC level.
These are all important facts to keep in mind when facing a blood alcohol test. Though it may seem foolproof, there is still plenty of room for error.