Breath tests have become a standard tool for law enforcement officers to check motorists for alcohol consumption. However, various factors can affect the accuracy of these tests. It is essential to know about them to avoid false-positive readings.
According to IC 188.8.131.52, earning an OWI only takes a BAC of .08. It does not take much to trigger a false-positive. See below for three things that interfere with breath test results.
1. Prescription and over-the-counter medications
Asthma medications such as albuterol, salmeterol and budesonide may interfere with breath tests, leading to overestimating blood alcohol concentration (BAC). Over-the-counter medicines like Nyquil and certain Vicks products contain alcohol, which can cause inaccurate readings.
2. Local anesthetics and mouthwashes
Anbesol, a local anesthetic used to help toothaches and canker sores, can lead to false-positive breath tests. Moreover, some mouthwashes and breath sprays have high alcohol content, which can skew the results of breath tests if used recently.
3. Acid reflux and high ketone levels
Acid reflux, where stomach contents enter the esophagus, can cause a small amount of alcohol to enter the mouth and affect breath test results. Legal amounts of alcohol in the system might trigger a positive result. Additionally, people with diabetes may produce high levels of ketones. Ketones cause acetone in the breath and impact BAC readings.
Several factors can affect the accuracy of breath tests. It is crucial to be aware of these factors and avoid them before taking the test. Consulting a physician before using medications or inhalers can help determine their effect on breath tests. Waiting for a while after using mouthwash, breath spray or consuming any alcoholic drinks can also help obtain accurate breath test results.