Three Different Methods of Testing Alcohol

There are a number of different ways that you can test for alcohol. The three most common testing methods are breath, saliva or oral fluid and urine. Breath alcohol testing using a breathalyzer is the most common form of alcohol testing. Most people are familiar with this type of test as they it is used by law enforcement and police departments nationwide. Saliva or oral fluid tests are performed one of two ways; directly from mouth, or from a specimen cup. Urine tests are normally collected in a specimen cup and then tested for alcohol using a test strip.

Breathalyzer Alcohol Testing

Breathalyzers use a number of different technologies to quantify the amount of alcohol in a breath sample. The most commonly used method is a small handheld breathalyzer which the subject blows through for approximately 12 seconds. This deep lung air sample contains enough evaporated alcohol to accurately ascertain the blood alcohol content of the person providing the sample. However, this technology is not accurate enough for the court�s legal system. That is why every positive roadside or breathalyzer test must be confirmed at the police station using properly calibrated and professional level equipment.

Saliva or Oral Fluid Alcohol Testing

Saliva, also known as oral fluid alcohol tests are considered to be a semi-quantitative alcohol test. This means that the sample will be tested for alcohol using a variant color strip. The strip, when compared to a control strip will approximate the blood alcohol content of the oral fluid sample. This semi-quantitative method should only be used to confirm that alcohol has been consumed. Not used to accurately determine the amount of alcohol in that person�s system.

Urine Alcohol Testing

Alcohol can also be tested in urine samples. The alcohol is tested much like drugs are tested for in urine with one significant difference. The alcohol test doesn�t provide any negative or positive result but a semi-quantitative amount much like the oral fluid test. This test trip also has to be compared to a control strip to approximate a blood alcohol content of the test sample. Most of the time, alcohol and urine tests are coupled with that of a drug test and the two different tests are completed at the same time.

Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC)

The amount of alcohol that will be present in a person�s bodily fluids depends on many factors. If a person consumes one drink the amount of alcohol that is metabolized into their system is dependent on a number of different physiological factors; their weight, their tolerance for alcohol and their stomach contents. The number of drinks consumed in a certain time frame will factor on the current blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of that person. for example, a petite woman who has consumed one glass of wine may have the same BAC as that of a man who has consumed two beer on a full stomach.

If you are concerned about being over the legal limit, the best thing to do is not to drive. But if you do, test your blood alcohol content before you get behind the wheel.