Glad I wasn’t on this flight!

LONDON, England (CNN) — Police arrested an American Airlines pilot who failed a Breathalyzer test at London’s Heathrow Airport on Wednesday, the airline and police said Thursday.

The pilot was due to fly a London-to-Chicago, Illinois, route leaving Heathrow at 10:15 a.m. He was replaced, and the flight departed at 11:30 a.m., the airline said.

It declined to name the pilot.

London’s Metropolitan Police said he was a 57-year-old who was arrested 20 minutes before the plane was due to take off.

He took a blood test, the results of which are not yet available, the American Airlines‘ pilots’ union said.

Arrests of drunken pilots are “quite infrequent,” said a police spokesman who declined to be named, in line with police policy. “They are not everyday occurrences.”

The police declined to say how far over the limit the pilot was.

He was released on bail to face a possible court appearance in July.

Full story


A court-ordered audit of the source code that powers a breathalyzer machine has uncovered serious bugs and technical deficiencies. The professional code reviewers contend that the software is far below industry standards for quality and that it contains programming errors. The results of this review have raised serious questions about the viability of such devices as a law enforcement tool.

Over the past several years, DWI defendants have increasingly challenged the accuracy of field breathalyzers, contending that the machines are potentially fallible and do not provide a sufficient degree of accuracy to justify using them as the sole basis on which guilt is determined.

In several cases, defendants have asked the courts to mandate source code reviews so that the software that runs the devices can be tested and evaluated for quality. Courts in Florida, Minnesota, and several other states have granted such requests, within certain parameters. In instances where the breathalyzer companies have declined to make code available for such reviews, Judges have been forced to throw out cases or reduce the charges against defendants.

In an ongoing DWI case in New Jersey, where the source disclosure issue escalated to the state’s Supreme Court, breathalyzer company Draeger was forced to submit its code for independent review. The software review summaries published by the expert source code auditors indicate that the underlying software that powers the Draeger breathalyzer exhibits potentially serious flaws.

Two reviews have been published. One review, which was conducted by SysTest, was commissioned by Draeger. The second review, conducted by Base One, was commissioned by the defendant. The reviews differ in scope and offer different conclusions, but they both agree that the code falls below industry-standard best practices and that it contains bugs.

Full story

The Minnesota Supreme Court on Thursday upheld a lower court’s decision to require production of the source code used by breath testing machines. This code is responsible for calculating the estimate of blood alcohol content which frequently is the only relevant piece of evidence in drunk driving (DUI) cases. When Dale Lee Underdahl and Timothy Arlen Brunner were both charged with DUI in separate cases in 2006 and 2007, they sought access to the source code for the Intoxilyzer 5000EN.

State officials resisted the defendants’ requests, claiming the software controlling the device was not relevant and, in any case, it was private information under the sole control of the machine’s manufacturer, CMI Inc. CMI claimed the information was a “trade secret” and refused a district court order to produce the code. This led to the prospect that the charges against Underdahl and Brunner would be dismissed for lack of evidence, so before this could happen, the state asked the court of appeals to strike down both discovery requests. The appeals court agreed with the state.

The supreme court found fault with the reasoning of the appeals court and split the difference. It upheld Brunner’s request for the code and turned down Underdahl’s. In a partial dissent, Justices Alan C. Page and Paul Anderson explained the source code’s importance while arguing that Underdahl’s case was identical to Brunner’s.

Full story

DUI on a lawnmower? Twice?!

While I know not to believe everything I see and/or read online, these videos actually look legitimate. Police encounter the same man on two separate occasions, riding his lawnmower while under the influence.

Google Labs Invents E-Mail Breathalyzer

While not a true breathalyzer, still quite amusing…

Here’s the scenario.  It’s been a long night of partying on Chippewa or in Allentown.  You’re not quite sure how you got home, but there you sit, all alone.  Suddenly, that proverbial light bulb illuminates above your head.  (Ok, more like flickers dimly.)  Now is a great time to get in touch with your ex and reconcile old differences!

Not so fast says Google Labs.  They’ve introduced a new optional feature for GMail called “Mail Goggles” to keep you from e-mailing while intoxicated.  Yes, really.

It’s functionality is simple.  First, you configure a schedule when you’re likely to be enjoying a few (too many) libations.  During these hours, you’re presented with a few math problems and a sixty second timer to come up with the answers before GMail will allow your mail to send.  The idea is if you’re in a right enough state of mind to answer their arithmetic quiz, then you can take responsibility for whatever happens after you’ve hit “Send.”  The question difficulty level is adjustable, depending on your math ability to start with, or just how well you want to protect yourself.

Of course, if you’re sober, you can probably remember how to turn the thing off anyway.  Note that it’s configured by default for 10PM-4AM.  Buffalonians might want to move that up to 6AM – to adjust for our locality’s service laws, and a trip to Jim’s Steakout.

Full story

Lawyers defend ‘two-beer’ defence

New federal legislation that virtually abolishes a “two-beer” defence to an impaired driving charge is being pulled into court for a legal spot check.

Before the new legislation took effect last July 2, people accused of driving with more than .08 milligrams of alcohol in 100 millilitres of blood – particularly if they were only marginally over the limit – would often argue they had consumed just two beers. They might also say they drank the last one not long before the breath test, which could have resulted in more alcohol in their breath than in their blood.

Under the new changes, part of the federal government’s Tackling Violent Crime Act, accused people who want to challenge a breathalyzer result are now required to provide the court with technical evidence proving the equipment was malfunctioning or wasn’t operated properly.

Some lawyers say the new legislation is unconstitutional.

The first step in the legal challenge begins today when defence lawyers and the Crown appear in the Superior Court of Justice in Toronto for arguments over which level of court should hear the challenge.

Full story

Bill: Breathalyzer For First-Time DUI Offenders

A Pennsylvania lawmaker wants tougher punishment for first-time DUI offenders.

A bill introduced by State Rep. Paul Clymer of Bucks County would mandate the installation of breathalyzers in the cars of first-time offenders, including those with a low blood alcohol concentration.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving says the legislation is a long time coming.

Full story

It is being called a serious crack down on drunk drivers, and Governor Bobby Jindal is the one hoping to steer the change. 

But some believe his plan could cost you some of your civil liberties.

On Monday, Governor Jindal announced plans to slow down drunk driving in Louisiana, partly by changing state laws dealing with breathalyzer tests.

“The penalties are much more severe if you fail the test than if you refuse the test,” said Jindal.

Which is why, the governor argues, he now wants to make them one in the same.

Currently, refusing a breathalyzer test under suspicion of DWI can result in a 180 day suspension of your driver’s license. If it happens a second time, your license is suspended for 18 months. For your third offense, criminal penalties come into play, the very same ones you would face for a first DWI conviction: up to $1,0000 fine and a maximum of 6 months behind bars.

The governor wants to change all that, making the punishment for refusing a breathalyzer just as severe as failing the sobriety test.

Full story

Shia LaBeouf is adjusting to life without a Driver’s License after being involved in a drunk driving accident in July 2008.

Although the 22 year old Transformers star wasn’t at fault in the accident that left his hands severely injured, he was charged with suspicion of DUI after he refused to take a Breathalyzer test.

His Driver’s License was revoked for a year, so now a professional driver is responsible for Shia’s transportation needs.

Full story