Use of RBT System to Reduce Car Accidents Due to Alcohol Consumption

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Random Breath Testing (RBT) is a system used in Australia by state and federal policing agencies to measure the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of drivers. To do so, police officers use an apparatus known as a breathalyser, which are able to determine BAC through breath alcohol concentration. If the blood alcohol content of a driver is over the legal limit, they will experience penalties. The usage of breathalysers has become an efficient and reliable form of testing BAC on the roads, without the need for a blood test. RBT has succeeded in making Australians further aware and responsible for their alcohol consumption, but overestimation of their driving abilities and incapability to properly weigh important factors, has made RBT less effective. Presently, there are three main types of breathalysers available, the Semiconductor Oxide, Fuel Cell, and Spectrophotometer breathalysers (How Does a Breath Analyser Work?, n.d.). Each of these three function slightly differently, and are reliable to their own degree. Regardless, each contains a mouthpiece in which the participant breathes into. However, policing agencies often use the Fuel Cell Breathalyser, which also contains a system of photocells and two vials. The reason that the presence of alcohol can be tested through an individual’s breath is because it is volatile, and once it is consumed, it flows in the bloodstream across the alveoli and is evaporated into the alveolar air. Thus, once the alveolar air is exhaled when the individual breathes into a mouthpiece, any presence of alcohol will be detected in the vial. Upon entering one vial, the breath sample is bubbled through a mixture of sulphuric acid (8H2SO4), silver nitrate (AgNO3), and potassium dichromate (2K2Cr2O72-), wh... ... middle of paper ... ... [online] Available at: http://www.breathalyzers.com/how-breathalyzers-work [Accessed: 21 Feb 2014]. Harcourt Health. 2013. 4 Medical Conditions That Affect The Validity Of Breathalyzers. [online] Available at: http://www.harcourthealth.com/4-medical-conditions-that-affect-the-validity-of-breathalyzers/ [Accessed: 23 Feb 2014]. Mercier, L. n.d. The Chemistry Behind the Breathalyzer. [PowerPoint slides] Available through: University of Waterloo orchard.uwaterloo.ca/Courses/Chem323/Pstrs_W'04/Breathalyzer.ppt‎ [Accessed: 21 Feb 2014]. Prabhakar, T., Lee, S. and Job, R. 2006. Factors involved in the long term benefits of Random Breath Testing in NSW. [e-book] p. 2, 3, 10. Available through: Australian Government Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development http://www.infrastructure.gov.au/roads/safety/publications/1993/pdf/RBT_NSW.pdf [Accessed: 23 Feb 2014].

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