Digital breathalyzers, alcotests and saliva drug tests
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The digital breathalyzer
Usually, we often tend to confuse the breathalyzer, the digital breathalyzer and the ethylometer. These devices are used to measure blood alcohol level with very specific functions:
The chemical breathalyzer or alcootest
The chemical breathalyzer - also called breathalyzer or "balloon" - is like a colorimetric reagent tube to assess the ethanol level in the exhaled air. It is a disposable disposable device. At the start, the tube connected to the balloon is yellow, when the breathalyzer test is positive, we observe a green coloration which goes up to a ring mark, the limit shat should not be crossed ...
Note, however, that these devices are not 100% reliable. It may happen that the color changes when there has been no alcohol consumption, but there simply is presence of ethanol in the user's breath.
The digital breathalyzer is a measuring device with an alcohol-specific electrochemical sensor, it is a sort of ethanol gas detector. The main advantage of an electronic breathalyzer is that it allows accurate reading of the blood alcohol level.
It is reusable, unlike single-use breathalyzers. It is a very reliable measuring device which - like all measuring devices - will require annual periodic maintenance such as sensor calibration to guarantee accuracy and measurement repeatability.
The breath alcohol ignition interlock device
The breath alcohol ignition interlock device (IID) is a variation of the digital breathalyzer. It is a device already regulated and used in the field of public transportation. It prevents a vehicle from starting when the blood alcohol level does not meet the authorized limits.
Since December 1, 2016, and with a decision of the local authorities, there is an alternative to a license suspension, the installation of a breathalyzer ignition interlock device in case of a positive blood alcohol test for private vehicles.
The ethylometer is the only legal instrument used by law enforcement to confirm and determine the alcohol level of a driver following a positive test carried out using a breathalyzer or digital breathalyzer.
Ethylometers are expensive and very precise measuring devices using very advanced technologies allowing to obtain a high measurement accuracy. An important annual calibration protocol is necessary to qualify each ethylometer.
Drug screening test unit:
This unit is composed of two components: a saliva drug test swab where the test is performed and a cassette including a liquid that reacts to the different substances (THC, opioids, cocaine, amphetamines and methamphetamine).
The measuring time can take from 3 to 5 minutes for sensitive measurements. If a substance is not detected, a line is clearly displayed in front of the related category. This drug-screening unit is approved as a medical device in the European Union in compliance with the 98/79/IEC Directive, and can therefore be used by professionals.