We are half way through the results collected during our happy hour wetlab. A few weeks ago, some volunteers agreed to have some drinks and snacks and allow us to test their BAC levels through PBT’s and roadside testing.
Participant 4 is a 41 year old, 5’11”, 220 lb. male. He told us he drinks only occasionally, approximately four times per month. He drinks an average of 3-5 drinks in a sitting. Earlier in the day, he had eaten bacon and eggs for breakfast and chicken soup and a hot dog for lunch. Before drinking or eating anything at the happy hour, Participant 4 passed the roadside tests, showing no clues on any test.
At 30 minutes, after having drank a double gin and tonic, his PBT result was a 0.06. At 60 minutes, after drinking another 1 and a half gin and tonics, his PBT result was .106. This participant passed the roadsides when he took them at the 60 minute mark. Our “officer” would not have arrested this participant based on his roadside tests. Participant 4 showed 3 out of 6 clues on the horizontal gaze nystagmus test, 1 out of 8 clues on the walk and turn and 1 out of 4 clues on the one leg stand. At 90 minutes, after having drank another gin and tonic and a fireball shot, this participant’s PBT result was still a .106. This participant did not tells us specifically what he ate during the happy hour, but he did eat throughout.
Interestingly, even though Participant 4 drank more alcohol between 60 and 90 minutes, including a shot, his PBT result remained the same. As we’ve previously disclosed, we did not use a calibrated PBT, so it could have been an error due to the device we were using, but it also occurred to us that we did not ask people when exactly during the timeframe they drank a particular drink. This question might be especially relevant if a person had just drank a shot or even if the person had just taken a sip of their drink before taking the PBT. PBT’s (and the larger breath test machines) can have inaccurate readings due to mouth alcohol, meaning actual residual alcohol in the mouth. As you might guess, a reading impacted by mouth alcohol would be higher than the actual BAC.