Beat the Clock: The Race to 0.02 BAC
Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations define 0.020 as the level at which employees must be removed from safety sensitive duties. When performing DOT breath alcohol testing only the result of the confirmation test is used to determine the employee’s intoxication level. Any delays in performing the confirmation test will likely produce a lower BAC level than if the confirmation test had been conducted in a timely fashion. Therefore it is important for BATs to be knowledgeable about how to correctly handle unusual events that may unnecessarily add more time to the testing process.
For example, a BAT performs a Screening test on an Alcomonitor CC with a result of 0.025. Because the result is greater than 0.020 the instrument counts down a fifteen minute wait, then starts a confirmation test. However, the subject is not able to produce an adequate breath sample (even though the subject had no problem providing one for the screening test). After several inadequate breath samples the instrument prints out the “insufficient breath” result and finishes the test sequence.
The BAT then starts a Screening test with a result of 0.022. The instrument goes through another 15 minute waiting period, and performs another confirmation test. By this time the confirmation test result is .018. Because this result is less than 0.020 the result is reported as negative.
What should the BAT have done? After the insufficient breath samples the BAT should have started another Confirmation test, rather than a Screening test. If the BAT had done so, the Confirmation test would have been 0.022 (the result that was recorded as the second Screening test), which would have been reported as a positive test and the employee removed from duty.
Could the second Screening test be used as the Confirmation test? Possibly, if:
- The instrument performed an air blank prior to the test, and
- The instrument printed the test result.
This is just one example of the kind of detail included in AlcoPro’s BAT training. For more information on AlcoPro’s BAT and Specimen Collector training contact AlcoPro’s Training Director, at 800 227-9890, or firstname.lastname@example.org.