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An application of probability theory to a group of breath-alcohol and blood-alcohol data.
J Forensic Sci. 1990 Nov; 35(6):1342-52.JF

Abstract

Many jurisdictions have "per se" driving-while-intoxicated (DWI) status expressed in terms of a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) standard (in grams per 100 mL or the equivalent). Since breath-alcohol (BrAC) analysis is typically employed to determine BAC, there is often challenge to the use of an assumed 2100:1 conversion ratio. This concern may be relevant in light of considerable data that show a low percentage of cases in which BrAC greater than BAC, and this concern increases when the BrAC is used to predict BAC in the context of "per se" legislation. Probability theory provides a basis for estimating the likelihood of an individual having a BrAC greater than or equal to g/210 L with a corresponding BAC less than 0.10 g/100 mL. Actual field data from the state of Wisconsin (n = 404) were evaluated to determine the probability of this occurrence. The probability for this occurrence involves the multiplication law for independent events. The computed probability from the data was 0.018. The actual number of occurrences where BrAC greater than or equal to 0.10 g/210 L and BAC less than 0.10 g/100 mL was 5, resulting in a probability of 0.012. The concern of having BrAC greater than BAC at the critical "per se" level has a very low probability of occurrence, which thus supports the reasonableness of "per se" DWI legislation based upon a blood-alcohol standard determined by breath-alcohol analysis.

Authors+Show Affiliations

Breath Test Section, Washington State Patrol, Seattle.

Pub Type(s)

Journal Article

Language

eng

PubMed ID

2262771

Citation

Gullberg, R G.. "An Application of Probability Theory to a Group of Breath-alcohol and Blood-alcohol Data." Journal of Forensic Sciences, vol. 35, no. 6, 1990, pp. 1342-52.
Gullberg RG. An application of probability theory to a group of breath-alcohol and blood-alcohol data. J Forensic Sci. 1990;35(6):1342-52.
Gullberg, R. G. (1990). An application of probability theory to a group of breath-alcohol and blood-alcohol data. Journal of Forensic Sciences, 35(6), 1342-52.
Gullberg RG. An Application of Probability Theory to a Group of Breath-alcohol and Blood-alcohol Data. J Forensic Sci. 1990;35(6):1342-52. PubMed PMID: 2262771.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
TY - JOUR T1 - An application of probability theory to a group of breath-alcohol and blood-alcohol data. A1 - Gullberg,R G, PY - 1990/11/1/pubmed PY - 1990/11/1/medline PY - 1990/11/1/entrez SP - 1342 EP - 52 JF - Journal of forensic sciences JO - J. Forensic Sci. VL - 35 IS - 6 N2 - Many jurisdictions have "per se" driving-while-intoxicated (DWI) status expressed in terms of a blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) standard (in grams per 100 mL or the equivalent). Since breath-alcohol (BrAC) analysis is typically employed to determine BAC, there is often challenge to the use of an assumed 2100:1 conversion ratio. This concern may be relevant in light of considerable data that show a low percentage of cases in which BrAC greater than BAC, and this concern increases when the BrAC is used to predict BAC in the context of "per se" legislation. Probability theory provides a basis for estimating the likelihood of an individual having a BrAC greater than or equal to g/210 L with a corresponding BAC less than 0.10 g/100 mL. Actual field data from the state of Wisconsin (n = 404) were evaluated to determine the probability of this occurrence. The probability for this occurrence involves the multiplication law for independent events. The computed probability from the data was 0.018. The actual number of occurrences where BrAC greater than or equal to 0.10 g/210 L and BAC less than 0.10 g/100 mL was 5, resulting in a probability of 0.012. The concern of having BrAC greater than BAC at the critical "per se" level has a very low probability of occurrence, which thus supports the reasonableness of "per se" DWI legislation based upon a blood-alcohol standard determined by breath-alcohol analysis. SN - 0022-1198 UR - https://www.unboundmedicine.com/medline/citation/2262771/An_application_of_probability_theory_to_a_group_of_breath_alcohol_and_blood_alcohol_data_ DB - PRIME DP - Unbound Medicine ER -