The Ethiopian traffic police commissioner office head Girma Tessema recently addressed the introduction of breathalyzers in the areas of recent accident masses starting from next week.
According to information released by Addis Ababa road traffic management agency more than 12,000 people were killed by road traffic accidents in Ethiopia during the past five years and over 2 billion birr (approximately $100 million) worth properties were also damaged by the accidents.
We hear and read about drivers involved in an accident who are later charged with drunken driving, and usually a news report on the accident will say what the driver’s blood alcohol level was and what the legal limit for blood alcohol is.
Breathalyzer is a device for estimating blood alcohol content (BAC) from a breath sample. Breath analyzers do not directly measure blood alcohol content or concentration, which requires the analysis of a blood sample. Instead, they estimate BAC indirectly by measuring the amount of alcohol in one’s breath.
Methods of foreign application
Before the introduction of this device a blood sample must be drawn from subjects’ veins in a hospital or clinical setting to confirm the alcohol content. Afterwards, Breath tests using handheld devices, also “breathalyzers” and “preliminary breath testers” (PBT), were employed in the field by law enforcement to assess BAC because they are lightweight, portable, and easy to administer. In every state in the U.S., a driver with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher is presumed to be legally intoxicated and may be charged with driving under the influence (DUI).
To measure alcohol, a suspect breathes into the device. The breath sample is bubbled in one vial through a mixture of sulfuric acid, potassium dichromate, silver nitrate and water.
Substances present in the mouth that contain alcohol can produce false positives because the amount of alcohol vapor they emit may be greater than the amount exhaled from the lungs. For example, some mouthwashes, breath fresheners, and toothache medicines contain alcohol and can skew readings.
Breathalyzers must be calibrated periodically and batteries must be replaced in order to maintain accuracy.
Breathalyzers run on special software, just as computers rely on operating systems, which can result in occasional bugs and glitches.
As easy as breathalyzers are to use, they still require some attention to detail.
To ensure accuracy, breath tests should be performed multiple times to produce a reliable result.
False results can be triggered by the presence of paint fumes, varnish, and chemicals such as plastics and adhesives.
The number of alcohol related accidents are on the rise with each passing month. Thousands of people are killed every single year due to drunk driving related road traffic accidents, and countless other lives are affected due to severe injuries or loss of a loved one. Breathalyzers were introduced as a means of measuring the level of alcohol that is present in the blood, and the answer given is a clear indication whether one is fit to drive or not.