The role of alcohol in road traffic collisions, particularly those resulting in death and serious injury, is a major international problem. The risk becomes proportionately greater as the alcohol level rises, so that most countries now have legislation that defines the maximum level of alcohol a person may have in his or her body while driving. To enforce this, the police in most countries rely on breath analysis for alcohol measuring purposes.
Screening instruments are used at the roadside when there is suspicion of drink-driving, after a collision or traffic violation, or – if the law allows – purely at random to determine whether the suspect driver should be subject to further investigation regarding his or her alcohol level.
If this screening test is positive the driver is then generally arrested and taken for breath analysis using an evidential instrument. This may be conducted in a police vehicle or at the police station, depending on the instrument in use, as well as the local laws and practice. As the name ‘evidential’ indicates, this type of instrument produces what is generally the only quantitative evidence of the driver’s actual alcohol level for use in any subsequent court proceedings.
The increasing use of alcohol by under-age persons is a trend with its own social implications, especially as such individuals can cause much annoyance and disruption in their communities. They are also very likely to go on and develop alcohol dependency problems in later life. Breath analysis, such as with AlcoBlow®, provides an easy method of detecting such activity. Also, a suspect container – such as a squash bottle or coke can – can be quickly and easily tested, to determine whether it might contain illicit alcohol.
The possession and use of alcohol is generally prohibited in prisons: this includes inmates, visitors and staff alike. In fact, no individual is usually permitted to enter such an establishment if they have alcohol in their body. Breath analysis provides a quick, simple and objective method of enforcing compliance with these rules.
Suspect fluids and containers can also be rapidly tested to detect any illicit brewing operations by inmates.