Oops: Pa. county wrongly figured blood-alcohol levels

    People who told police they were not that drunk while driving may have been right in one Pennsylvania county.

    Somerset County District Attorney Lisa Lazzari-Strasiser tells the Daily American that a hospital has been testing drivers’ blood serum, not whole blood, when doing the tests.

    As a result, the blood-alcohol content has been overestimated by as much as 15 percent.

    That’s important because the blood-alcohol level is used to determine whether someone is legally drunk and, in some cases, whether they deserve more severe punishment.

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    Tests using blood serum can be used as evidence, but only if a calculation is done to convert the percentage of alcohol found as though it were taken from a whole blood sample.

    The prosecutor says her office failed to perform those calculations and is reviewing some cases.

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