THIS level of alcohol will not entrap you in drink and drive

The law stipulates that if 30 mg of alcohol is found in 100 ml of blood, a person is considered legally drunk and unfit to drive. But how is this alcohol level detected?

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In a shocking revelation from Pune, two government doctors are accused of tampering with crucial evidence in a high-profile drink-and-drive case involving a minor. The incident has drawn attention due to the alleged corruption and manipulation of blood samples. The controversy centers on Dr Ajay Tawde, head of Sasun General Hospital's Forensic Medicine Department, CMO Dr Shrihari Halnor, and staff member Atul Ghatkamble. 

They allegedly discarded the blood sample of the accused minor and replaced it with someone else’s, reportedly for a bribe. This act has severe implications for the integrity of legal and medical practices.

What happened on May 19?

On May 19, the minor in question reportedly spent a large sum on alcohol with friends, first at Cozy Bar and then at Black Marriott Club, totaling around 69,000 rupees. Later that night, he was involved in a fatal accident which led to his arrest. The police have charged him under Section 185 of the Motor Vehicles Act, which pertains to drunk driving.

Understanding drunk driving limits

The law stipulates that if 30mg of alcohol is found in 100 ml of blood, a person is considered legally drunk and unfit to drive. But how is this alcohol level detected?

What is breath analyser test?

To determine if a person is driving under the influence, police use a breath analyzer. When a person drinks alcohol, it gets absorbed into the bloodstream and is eventually expelled in small amounts through the breath. By blowing into a breath analyzer, the device can estimate the blood alcohol concentration (BAC). 

The principle behind this is the ratio of 2100:1, meaning that the amount of alcohol in 2,100ml of breath is equivalent to the amount in 1ml of blood.

What is science behind BAC?

When alcohol is consumed, 20% is absorbed in the stomach, and 80% in the intestines, mixing into the bloodstream and spreading throughout the body. Alcohol exits the body in three main ways: 5% through urine, 5% through breath, and the rest metabolized into acetic acid. The breath analyzer measures the alcohol expelled through the breath.

According to the American Medical Association, a person becomes fully unconscious when the BAC reaches 50mg per 100ml of blood. In India, if 30mg of alcohol is detected in 100 ml of blood, it constitutes a case of drunk driving.

What are laws on drink and drive? 

While drinking alcohol is legal in India, driving under the influence is not. For a first offense under Section 185 of the Motor Vehicles Act, the punishment can be up to 6 months in jail, a fine of 2,000 rupees, or both. A repeat offense within three years can lead to up to 2 years in jail, a fine of 3,000 rupees, or both.

Pune incident

In the early hours of May 19, the minor, driving a Porsche, collided with bike riders Anish Avadhiya and Ashwini Costa in Pune’s Kalyani Nagar area, resulting in their deaths. The minor, allegedly under the influence of alcohol, was arrested the same day. Despite the severity of the incident, the Juvenile Justice Board granted him bail, with conditions including writing an essay and learning traffic rules from the RTO.