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At Smart Start of Alabama, we use the most sophisticated, feature rich alcohol monitoring technology available. From the customer’s perspective, we ensure that our devices are simple and easy to use. From the monitoring authority’s perspective, we ensure each and every authority has the ability to customize our unit configuration to meet the demands of their specific program and receive timely and easy to read reports. But as amazing as our products are, it’s very important for you to understand how some products can cause the devices to register a false positive.
Our interlock devices rely on state-of-the-art fuel cell technology to ensure very reliable breath alcohol test results. This technology presents exciting possibilities in the area of impaired driving prevention. Before starting the vehicle, a driver must blow into the breathalyzer device. If the driver’s breath alcohol content (BrAC) levels are over a pre-set limit, the ignition interlock will not allow the vehicle to start. Research shows that ignition interlocks reduce the tendency for DWI offenders to reoffend.
The technology is pretty impressive. But alcohol is alcohol. If the alcohol level exceeds the pre-set level, the vehicle will not start. Sometimes the source of the alcohol is simply the use of products that contain high levels of alcohol such as:
- bread/pizza/pastries that contain yeast
- red wine vinegar (such as in salad dressing)
- soy sauce
- energy drinks
- non-alcoholic beer or wine
- breath spray
- some cold and cough medicines
- dental pain topical medication
- denture cream
We refer to these items as mouth contaminants, and the positive is a result of the alcohol being on your breath (not in your blood like when you drink large amounts of alcoholic beverages). We do our best to educate our customers about how these things can affect the interlock device test results. Sometimes, though, drivers do forget or they simply don’t realize something has alcohol in it. If you blow a failing breath sample and you believe it’s due to a contaminant, it’s important to rinse your mouth with water and then submit another breath sample after a few minutes. If your false positive is due to a contaminant but you have a passing test registered just a few minutes later, your monitoring authority is more likely to be understanding. Remember that you will be held responsible for any reading, no matter the source.
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