Self-Test for Breath Alcohol
How To Prepare
- Check the expiration date on the package.
Don't use the test if the expiration date has passed.
- Store the
testing device correctly. If the device should be stored in the refrigerator or
kept in a cool place, make sure you place it in an appropriate storage
- Follow the instructions exactly. All test kits come with
detailed instructions. Carefully read the instructions that come with your test
before using it. Many test kits include a toll-free number you can call for
- Note any special instructions you need to follow
before you take the test. These might include avoiding certain foods or
- Follow every step of the instructions carefully.
- Prepare and handle everything exactly as
the instructions tell you.
- Follow all the steps in sequence. Don't
skip any steps.
- If a step in the test needs to be timed, use a
watch. Don't guess.
- Know your limits. If you are
color-blind or have trouble distinguishing colors,
have someone else read the test results for you. For some tests, you need to be
able to see color changes in a test area or window.
- Wait at least 15 minutes after having an
alcoholic drink before testing your BAC. Trace amounts of alcohol left in your
mouth from a recent drink or the use of mouthwash or mouth spray, such as mouth
sprays to relieve a sore throat, can give false results.
- Do not
smoke for 1 to 5 minutes before testing your BAC. Do not blow smoke into the
- Take at least two separate readings 15 minutes
How It Is Done
Manual (glass tube/balloon) test
To obtain a
breath alcohol reading:
- Blow into the balloon that comes with the kit
until the balloon is almost full. Use one long breath, not several small
- Attach the balloon mouthpiece to one end of the glass tube
filled with bands of yellow crystals.
- Let the air flow slowly out
of the balloon and through the tube for exactly 1 minute.
- Count the
number of bands of colored crystals in the tube that turn from yellow to
If your test has only the glass tube, blow through the
tube for the amount of time in the instructions. Use one long breath, not
several small breaths. Then look at the colored crystals to get the
The amount of alcohol in your breath is based on the
number of bands that change color and on the intensity of the color
Electronic breath alcohol meter
specific instructions that come with the device. With most meters, you:
- Turn on the meter and let it warm up for
- Take a deep breath.
- Place your lips
tightly around the mouthpiece. Blow steadily and continuously into the machine
for the correct amount of time (usually 4 to 6 seconds). Use one long breath,
not several small breaths.
The results appear as a digital readout in a display
window. It may show a red or green "traffic light" or an estimated blood
alcohol concentration (BAC). After you obtain the first reading,
press the reset button and do a second test.