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How accurate are breath test devices?

On Behalf of | Jul 13, 2022 | DUI

During an Alabama traffic stop, the law enforcement officer who stops you may ask you to take a breath test if he or she suspects you may be under the influence of alcohol. Yet, you may want to think twice before agreeing to take such a test, because the results breath tests produce are not nearly as accurate as you may want to think.

According to the New York Times, courts across the nation tossed out tens of thousands of breath test results within a recent one-year span because of accuracy issues ranging from human errors to a lack of government oversight.

Why breath test devices are not always accurate

Breath test devices are prone to error in a number of key ways. To work properly, the instruments have to undergo regular calibration. When this does not happen, the results of the breath test are not necessarily going to be accurate or valid. Technical professionals have also uncovered a number of mistakes related to the programming within breath test devices, among other problems with the devices.

Why breath test devices remain in use

Many question why breath test devices remain in use given that their results are often inaccurate. While the results of a blood test are more accurate than the results of a breath test, administering blood tests is messier and trickier. It also requires a warrant, which takes time to secure. Breath tests are easier to conduct and a law enforcement officer does not need to have a warrant to administer one.

An inaccurate breath test reading has the potential to upend many aspects of your life. If you question the accuracy of the results of your breath test, it may benefit you to investigate further.