An evaluation of pocket-model, numerical readout breath alcohol testing instruments

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Title: An evaluation of pocket-model, numerical readout breath alcohol testing instruments
Author: Van Tassel, William Edward
Abstract: Eight small -scale breath alcohol measurement devices were tested for accuracy , precision and the ability to not yield false positive and false negative readings . These pocket -sized breath testers (PMBTs ) , which provided numerical readout of BrAC to the 100th of a percent , were smaller than evidential and preliminary breath test instruments (EBTs and PBTs ) . The smallest devices were approximately the same size of a cigarette lighter . Designed to provide drinkers feedback about their individual alcohol levels , the PMBTs ranged in price from $40 -100 USD . The devices were first tested under laboratory conditions with alcohol solution simulators providing the alcoholic samples . They were then tested with human drinkers , under controlled field conditions . Each device was tested at multiple alcohol levels . Two of the eight PMBTs failed to complete all levels of testing and were excluded from the study . All PMBTs demonstrated the ability to not yield false positive and false negative readings . No device met NHTSA performance criteria for accuracy (systematic error ) in testing EBTs at every alcohol level tested . An interaction between PMBTs and the alcohol test levels was found . Thus , accuracy was found to be dependent upon the alcohol level at which the devices were tested . No device met NHTSA performance criteria for precision in testing EBTs at every alcohol level tested . Precision varied depending on the testing condition . There was less precision under controlled field conditions than under laboratory conditions . Five of the six PMBTs that completed the testing overestimated BrAC ; only one device read below actual BrAC . Ramifications of the findings are discussed , regarding the overestimation and underestimation of BrAC and the possibility of manufacturers intentionally calibrating the devices to overestimate BrAC . Potential PMBT users are discussed and areas for future research are addressed .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /1159
Date: 2004-11-15

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An evaluation of pocket-model, numerical readout breath alcohol testing instruments. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /1159 .

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