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Why breath test devices are not always accurate

On Behalf of | Aug 10, 2023 | Traffic Offenses And DUI

During an Illinois traffic stop, the law enforcement officer who pulls you over may ask that you submit to a breath test if he or she suspects you were driving under the influence. Because the repercussions associated with a conviction for driving under the influence are considerable, quite a bit depends on the results of that breath test.

However, BACtrack reports that there are various factors that have the capacity to impact just how accurate the breath test device the officer uses to test your level of intoxication is. Some of these factors are as follows.

Improper or insufficient calibration

Breath test devices are highly sensitive instruments. As a result, they need to undergo regular calibration to ensure they produce accurate readings. These devices also run on batteries, and if those batteries are not fully charged, this, too, could impact test results.

Foreign substances in your mouth

If you have certain types of substances in your mouth when you take your breath test, they, too, may throw off the accuracy of the device used to test you. For example, certain types of mouthwash or prescription drugs may make it look like you drank alcohol before driving even if you did not.

Faulty software

Breath test devices rely on special software to produce accurate results. Like most types of software, it is not immune to periodic bugs or glitches that may throw off accuracy.

While improper calibration, foreign substances and faulty software all have the potential to impact breath test device accuracy, they are not the only variables known to do so.