False Positive?

False Positive?

Defendants convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI) can be required to install ignition interlock devices in their cars.The device measures the driver’s breath alcohol content.In the world of ignition interlocks, one of the biggest misnomers is the phrase “false positive.”

The ethanol specific fuel cell, which drives the breath alcohol ignition interlock device (BAIID), is a very sophisticated device that is certified by the state and calibrated monthly as part of the ignition interlock program. Consequently, the accuracy of the device is seldom in issue. What happens is people are unaware of other sources of alcohol that the device will detect. The biggest culprits are food flavorings and food colorings along with  mouth wash and cough syrup. However, keep in mind, the FDA does not require manufacturers of food products to disclose alcohol content. As a consequence, the device will also detect flavorings such as vanilla extract, hazelnut creamers, lemon drops, chocolate covered cherries and a host of other food components.

The best way to understand this is to look at the baking section of your local supermarket.There, the flavorings do report alcohol content.Today, I did this at the local grocery store and I can report that vanilla bean extract contains 17% alcohol.Lemon extract contains 80% alcohol.

Alcohol is also used as a delivery agent for cologne, eau de toilette, windshield wiper fluid. If you have an interlock device installed, the best way to prevent a “false positive” situation like this is to drink water. Watch the training video at www.statewideinterlock.com for more tips.

DWI is a serious traffic violation. If you need legal assistance with a DWI or traffic matter in the Albany area (including local courts in Guilderland, Colonie, Delmar, Glenmont, Slingerlands and the City of Albany), call Martin Kehoe and Associates at 518-452-8000 or email info@martinkehoe.com . Visit www.martinkehoe.com if you need more information.

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