Q. I read an inquiry from a bus driver who was worried that eating gin-soaked raisins to ease joint pain would trigger a positive breath alcohol result. As a certified BAT (Breath Alcohol Technician) I would like to reassure that bus driver.
If, as your research showed, the alcohol content in 9 raisins is truly only one drop, it would not be enough to trigger a positive breath alcohol test. You wrote about a North Carolina sheriff who was arrested for DWI after eating several handfuls of gin-soaked raisins. They must have been REALLY big handfuls if he blew a 0.07 alcohol reading.
Even if the bus driver was tested immediately after eating 9 gin-soaked raisins and blew a positive result of .02 or above, a second Confirmation test would be administered in 15 minutes. The fifteen-minute wait is to allow any residual mouth alcohol to dissipate.
It is virtually impossible to blow a false positive on the Confirmation test after 15 minutes. Since Confirmation test results are final and those results would be 0.00, our driver should be in the clear (unless additional alcohol was consumed along with those few raisins!).
A. Thank you for the explanation. The story about the North Carolina sheriff a decade or so ago did occasion some speculation about the size of his handfuls. We imagine that if the daily dose of 9 raisins were consumed during off-duty hours, there should never be a concern about the breath alcohol test.