Your Guide: Breath Alcohol Testing For Truck Drivers

As part of its Department of Transportation (DOT) compliant drug and alcohol testing services, Consortium Pool utilizes breath alcohol testing to ensure that truck drivers and CDL licensed employees are not abusing alcohol while on the job. But how accurate are these alcohol tests? And are they even accurate when measuring alcohol consumption?

If you’re curious about the ins-and-outs of breath alcohol testing, you’re in luck, because the experts at Consortium Pool are here to answer some frequently asked questions, showing you why breath alcohol tests are a vital part of any truck driving career.

What Is A Breath Alcohol Test?

A breath alcohol test is an estimate of your blood alcohol concentration (BAC) based on the amount of alcohol in the air that you exhale.

Breath alcohol tests, typically administered with a breathalyzer, are the most common methods of BAC tests administered by law enforcement. But they are also required by the DOT as part of its mandatory drug and alcohol testing procedures, administered by a DOT-compliant breath alcohol technician or screening test technician.

For more information on DOT drug and alcohol testing, check out the blogs below: 

How Accurate Is Breath Alcohol Testing?

Many people are suspicious of the accuracy of breath alcohol tests. Factors like your metabolism, fat/muscle content, age and gender can all impact your BAC, and breath tests are not as accurate at reflecting BAC as a blood test. However, DOT guidelines help ensure the highest level of accuracy for breath alcohol tests.

According to the DOT, evidential breath testing devices must be able to provide triplicate results (three identical copies of a result) of each test to confirm their accuracy. They also must be able to distinguish common substances like acetone from alcohol, ensuring that you don’t have false-positive results on breath tests.

What Happens If Your Breath Alcohol Test Is Positive?

A positive breath alcohol test can create major hurdles for your career as a truck driver. In accordance with DOT standards, you will be removed from safety sensitive functions (like driving your vehicle) until successful completion of the return-to-duty process with a DOT-qualified substance abuse professional. That process will include a return-to-duty drug and alcohol test, which you must pass in order to return to your regular job responsibilities.

Why Are Breath Alcohol Tests Necessary For Truckers?

There’s nothing wrong with indulging in alcohol every once in a while. But you can develop a bad habit quickly, and abusing alcohol is a major problem at the workplace.

To put it simply, you can’t operate a truck if you’re under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol use can cause dizziness, drowsiness, slurring of speech, aggressive emotions, and much more that will seriously impact your ability to operate a truck. And getting behind the wheel while under the influence is an obvious safety hazard. Thankfully, DOT-mandated breath alcohol tests for truckers help identify alcohol abuse, ensuring your workplace stays safe.

The DOT’s drug and alcohol testing requirements might seem cumbersome, but remember, they are designed to keep drivers and civilians alike safe on the roads. If you or your company is looking for DOT-compliant testing services, consider Consortium Pool. Our drug testing consortium offers access to 10,000 drug testing facilities nationwide, 24/7 customer support, employee educational guides, and much more. For more information on our services, contact Consortium Pool today.