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'Back to Basics' for Breath Alcohol Technicians/Screening Test Technicians

As a technician for DOT-regulated alcohol tests, you play a vital role in the success of the DOT alcohol testing program.  Doing your job correctly means ‘Do it right the First Time and Every Time’.

The STT and BAT interact directly with the employee and instantaneously provide the employee with their alcohol test result.  Don’t fall into the trap of developing bad habits or cutting corners because you perform alcohol tests day-after-day and they become routine. Instead, focus on each and every step because completing those steps correctly is a critical component of transportation safety.  Focus on being a professional by 'Doing it Right the First Time and Every Time’

When performing alcohol screening tests focus on the following:

  • Ensure aural and visual privacy to employees.
  • If conducting both drug and alcohol testing, remember to always perform the alcohol test first.
  • Explain each step of the testing process to the employee.
  • Confirm the correct DOT Agency is identified in Step 1 of the Alcohol Testing Form (ATF).
  • When a screening test result is .020 or greater, perform a confirmation test.
  • Only those devices listed on ODAPC’s web pages can be used for DOT alcohol testing.

When using an evidential breath testing (EBT) device or non-evidential breath alcohol screening device (ASD):

  • Open the sealed mouthpiece in the presence of the employee.
  • Show the displayed results to the employee.
  • If the device does not or is unable to print, record the result in Step 3 of the ATF.

When using a saliva ASD or breath tube ASD:

  • Check the expiration date on the ASD and show it to the employee.
  • Open the seal of the ASD in the presence of the employee.
  • Ensure the device has been activated (per the manufacturer’s instructions).
  • Show and read the results to the employee, and record in Step 3 of the ATF.

When performing alcohol confirmation tests, don’t forget the following:

  • Must be conducted using an approved EBT device that can print the result.
  • Must wait at least 15 minutes before conducting the confirmation test.
  • In the presence of the employee, conduct an air blank on the EBT, ensure a reading of 0.00, and show it to the employee.
  • Open the sealed mouthpiece in the presence of the employee.
  • Read, and show the employee the test number on the EBT.
  • Show the displayed result to the employee.
  • Print the result and affix the paper strip to the ATF using tamper-evident tape.

Do not forget the following:

  • Keep documentation of inspections, maintenance, and calibration of EBTs.
  • Regarding calibrations and accuracy checks:
    • Make sure only those trained and authorized to conduct calibrations do so.
    • Perform accuracy checks according to the EBT manufacturer’s quality assurance plan (QAP), usually once every 30 days.
      • Best practice – in addition to following the manufacturer’s QAP, conduct an accuracy check after every positive confirmation result (i.e., .040 or greater)

Treat employees with respect and perform collections correctly. Employees are trying to get through the collection process, and it’s your job to assist them to successfully complete the collection by 'Doing it Right the First Time and Every Time'. 

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