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Lawsuit underscores importance of proper testing techniques

A federal lawsuit filed in the U.S. over an allegedly false positive alcohol test illustrates just how important it is for service providers and employers alike to ensure the people they select to conduct their alcohol and drug tests are following the proper procedures.

The case involves a Pennsylvania woman who is accusing her former employers of using an allegedly invalid breath alcohol test to terminate her. According to the claim, Lori Roth had a cough drop in her mouth at the time of the breath test and the technician made note of this fact “because cough drops are known to make false positive results on breath tests.”

Provided proper DOT model alcohol testing protocols and procedures are followed, DriverCheck is not aware of any cough drops in the marketplace that would cause someone to blow positive on an alcohol test merely from swallowing the ingredients, but it is true that people have used mouthwash and other products containing alcohol to cause a false positive result. It the statement of facts in this case is true, Roth is right in the context that the collection was flawed. If a breath alcohol screen is non-negative, the breath alcohol technician should wait at least 15 minutes before administering the breath alcohol confirmation test and monitor the individual during this hold period.

The goal is to make sure there is nothing in the donor’s mouth that could cause a false positive test. If there is any alcohol in the mouth at the time of the screen test, the holding period will allow the alcohol to dissipate so that it does not impact the confirmation test result. There should be nothing in the individual’s mouth for the holding period between the screening and confirmation test on the off chance there is any residual alcohol in their mouth. Following these procedures and techniques can avoid complicated and potentially costly challenges in court.

At DriverCheck, we only select the most qualified and experienced leaders to train and certify our drug collectors and breath alcohol technicians. Combined, our team of trainers has more than two decades of experience delivering programs in accordance with U.S. Department of Transportation collection site training regulations. We effectively manage the testing process at each of our sites Canada-wide and hold all collectors and technicians in our network to the highest standard of care. This requires strict adherence to consistent protocols and procedures. Don’t take chances with your alcohol and drug testing provider. Make sure they have the appropriate testing techniques in place to prevent fatal flaws during the collection process.

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