BAC Testing Has Potential to Adversely Impact Minorities

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Last Updated on February 12, 2024 by DALA Staff Writer

The United States of America is supposed to be a country where everyone (in theory) is treated equally and given the same opportunities regardless of race, color, gender, religion, national origin, and other factors that cause us all to be unique.

When it comes to BAC testing, this equality doesn’t seem to be of concern to the courts and law enforcement officials because testing is performed and interpreted in the same way regardless of the race or national origin of the driver. If an African American is pulled over and asked to submit to testing, he or she will be given the same test as a Caucasian, Asian, or Indian man or woman.

While giving the same test seems fair because it eliminates a variable, it actually has the potential to adversely affect people of other races and cultures. Our genetic makeup differs from race to race, meaning no two individuals can process alcohol in the same way.

The metabolism of a person of one race may be slower or faster than a person of another race, meaning that they cannot process alcohol as effectively as others. This creates disparity even before other factors such as weight, body mass, and medical history are even considered.

If we truly want to have equality in terms of the law, we need to make lawmakers and law enforcement officials understand that one test cannot be used as the criteria for arresting and charging people with a crime that could haunt them for the rest of their lives.

Until we accomplish this, blood alcohol testing will continue to negatively impact minorities for reasons beyond their control.

DALA Staff Writer
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