New Zealand's breath and blood alcohol testing programs: further data analysis and forensic implications.Forensic Sci Int 2008; 178(2-3):83-92FS
Paired blood and breath alcohol concentrations (BAC, in g/dL, and BrAC, in g/210 L), were determined for 11,837 drivers apprehended by the New Zealand Police. For each driver, duplicate BAC measurements were made using headspace gas chromatography and duplicate BrAC measurements were made with either Intoxilyzer 5000, Seres 679T or Seres 679ENZ Ethylometre infrared analysers. The variability of differences between duplicate results is described in detail, as well as the variability of differences between the paired BrAC and BAC results. The mean delay between breath and blood sampling was 0.73 h, ranging from 0.17 to 3.1 8h. BAC values at the time of breath testing were estimated by adjusting BAC results using an assumed blood alcohol clearance rate. The paired BrAC and time-adjusted BAC results were analysed with the aim of estimating the proportion of false-positive BrAC results, using the time-adjusted BAC results as references. When BAC results were not time-adjusted, the false-positive rate (BrAC>BAC) was 31.3% but after time-adjustment using 0.019 g/dL/h as the blood alcohol clearance rate, the false-positive rate was only 2.8%. However, harmful false-positives (defined as cases where BrAC>0.1 g/210L, while BAC< or =0.1g/dL) occurred at a rate of only 0.14%. When the lower of duplicate breath test results were used as the evidential results instead of the means, the harmful false-positive rate dropped to 0.04%.