Breathalyzer tests are commonly used to measure the blood alcohol content (BAC) of individuals who are suspected of drunk driving. However, various substances, including medications, can interfere with the accuracy of these tests. One such substance is Bonjela oral gel, a popular over-the-counter medication used to treat mouth ulcers and other oral injuries.
Bonjela oral gel contains a local anesthetic called benzocaine, which can cause a false positive on a breathalyzer test. When this gel is applied to the mouth or gums, it can produce alcohol-like vapors that can be detected by a breathalyzer, leading to a higher BAC reading. This can result in an individual being wrongly accused of drunk driving, even if they have not consumed any alcohol.
It is important to note that the effect of Bonjela oral gel on breathalyzer test results is not permanent and usually wears off within a few hours after application. However, it is still important for individuals who have used this gel to inform the police officer or other law enforcement official administering the breathalyzer test. This can help to avoid any misunderstandings or false accusations.
In recent news in Singapore, a drink-driver was convicted after a breathalyzer test showed that he had alcohol in his system. However, he later appealed the conviction, arguing that the high reading was due to the presence of Bonjela oral gel in his mouth. Our specialist was called on as the expert witness to testify on the effects of Bonjela gel ingestion on the breath alcohol concentration. In the report tendered, a breath test conducted immediately after applying Bonjela gel showed a positive breath alcohol reading above the prescribed limit. Tests conducted at one-minute intervals continued to show positive breath alcohol readings for 10 minutes before dropping to zero. However, after an episode of belching, positive breath alcohol readings were again detected for another nine minutes, despite the earlier zero breath alcohol readings that had been recorded.
The appeal court ruled in favor of the drink-driver and overturned his conviction, acknowledging that the use of Bonjela oral gel could have influenced the breathalyzer test results. The court emphasized the importance of informing law enforcement officials about the use of any substance that could potentially interfere with breathalyzer test results, to avoid false positive readings.
This case serves as a reminder that even over-the-counter medications can have an impact on breathalyzer test results and highlights the need for caution and transparency when taking such tests.
In conclusion, while Bonjela oral gel is a safe and effective medication for treating mouth ulcers and other oral injuries, it can have an impact on breathalyzer test results. If you have used this medication and are required to take a breathalyzer test, it is important to inform the person administering the test to avoid any false positive readings. Additionally, it is always best to avoid driving under the influence of alcohol or any other substance that can impair your ability to drive safely.