The Champion

August 2009 , Page 44 

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DWI

By Wayne A. Morris

Read more DWI columns.

A New Look at Breath Alcohol Testing

Instrumental breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) testing has been in wide use in the United States since 1954 with the introduction of the Borkenstein Breathalyzer.1 Rolla N. Harger conducted the first-ever “short course” on chemical tests for intoxication in 1937 and in 1938 introduced the Drunkometer, the first practical instrument for testing breath alcohol. It was the Breathalyzer invented by Dr. Robert F. Borkenstein, however, that was the most popular of the early instruments for testing breath alcohol.2 As an alternate method to blood alcohol concentration (BAC) testing, it is currently used to prove that a person was driving with a BrAC above the legal limit. Originally, BrAC testing instruments reported the results in terms of grams of ethyl alcohol per 100 milliliters of blood, i.e., the units of blood alcohol concentration. The current state of the art breath alcohol testing of human subjects uses infrared spectroscopy to quantify the cont

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