One of the most frequent questions we get from companies that are considering purchasing an alcohol test device is “Will it hold up in court?” While no one can guarantee 100% success in court, a company that follows all the elements of evidential-quality alcohol testing has a high probability of successfully defending their testing. The question of evidential alcohol testing usually arises in relation to workplace alcohol testing. The same principles apply to other settings as well, such as corrections, schools, and substance abuse treatment programs. Here are the three basic elements of evidential alcohol testing.
Evidential Quality Alcohol Test Instrument
What makes a breath alcohol testing instrument evidential quality? The National Highway Traffic Safety Agency (NHTSA) publishes the Conforming Products List of Evidential Breath Alcohol Measurement Devices. Every device appearing on this list is, by definition, an evidential instrument. Manufacturers send their new instruments to NHTSA for evaluation. NHTSA updates the Conforming Products List periodically with instruments that pass their evaluation.
Maintain Instrument in Accurate Condition
The second element of evidential breath testing is to document that the instrument is maintained in accurate condition as specified in the company’s policy. A logbook that records Accuracy Checks and Calibration Adjustments provides the necessary documentation. Evidential alcohol testing also requires the use of evidential-quality calibration standards to perform Accuracy Checks and Calibration Adjustments.
Documentation that alcohol test operators are trained to use the instrument provides the final element of evidential testing. While the DOT Breath Alcohol Technician training course is the gold standard, companies performing non-regulated testing may choose an option called Operator Training that still produces competently trained staff.