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Alcohol Testing Devices Not Just For Police Officers


I've worked at many places of business and to my surprise the only position that required me to conduct urine alcohol testing was my first internship at a local television station. From that position I moved around and worked at different companies and I was surprised how many businesses did not conduct this type of testing. So I did some research and it looks like alcohol testing is still around. Here's a list of industries and places where an alcohol testing device is still in use.

Police Officers

Police officers use an alcohol testing device referred to as the Breathalyzer. The Breathalyzer is a device for estimating blood alcohol content from a breath sample. Officers that are assigned to a DUI unit are trained in both alcohol and drug impairment. Some of the officers are also certified as Drug Recognition Experts. Per MADD (Mothers against Drunk Driving) in 2006, an estimated 15,827 people died in alcohol-related traffic crashes”an average of one every 33 minutes. These deaths constitute 37 percent of the 42,532 total traffic fatalities. Of these, 13,470 involved a driver with an illegal BAC (.08 or greater). Based on statistics like these the illegal alcohol concentration limit is .08 or greater.

Safety Sensitive Positions

Drug and alcohol testing devices are legally required in occupations described as "safety sensitive." This requirement is due to the Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991. The law is enforced by the federal Department of Transportation (DOT). These positions include aviation, motor carrier, railroad and transit duties. These occupations are considered safety sensitive because they are responsible for caring large amounts of passengers in airplane or motor vehicles.

Homeless Shelters

In New London, Connecticut a homeless shelter just started using an alcohol testing device to test the sobriety of people looking to stay the night. Anyone above the legal limit of .08 percent, which is Connecticut's legal limit for drunken driving, is turned away when the doors close at 9:30 pm. The City Council was behind the decision to start using the alcohol testing device stating that the "dry" policy is used because they believe that providing beds to intoxicated people encourages heavy drinking among the city's homeless.