Archive for the ‘ Breathalyzer News ’ Category

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.

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Yikes!

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The BACtrack Select S50 is a sleek-looking device that’s fairly new to the market.

Here’s the blurb from the manufacturer:

The BACtrack® Select S50 Breathalyzer is the latest addition to the BACtrack Breathalyzer Series. Launched in late 2008, the BACtrack Select S50 combines trusted sensor technology with a simple and easy-to-use design. Simply blow through the replaceable mouthpiece and an estimate of BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) is displayed in seconds.

The S50 is quick, simple, accurate, and perfect for testing one’s own BAC level or checking others. It can be used in a wide variety of settings including law enforcement screening, hospital/clinical test applications, and for personal use.

Key Features

Three digit display shows BAC test results in easily recognizable format from 0.00 to 0.40 %BAC
Proprietary FlowCheck™ feature ensures that a deep lung air sample is achieved on every breath sample
Individually wrapped mouthpieces suitable for personal and professional use
Elegant ruby-red LED; Great for low light situations
Full One-Year Warranty and trusted BACtrack brand

BACtrack Select S50 Kit Includes

S50 Breathalyzer
Soft Carrying Pouch
6 Mouthpieces
2 AA Batteries
User Guide
One Year Warranty

Hall of Famer and 11-time NBA All-Star Charles Barkley will pay a fine and serve ten days in jail after pleading guilty to driving while impaired. The sentence will be reduced to five days if he completes a class in alcohol counseling.

Scottsdale, Arizona police stopped Barkley on December 31, 2008 because he ran a stop sign. The police report supposedly indicated that he was in a hurry to have oral sex. Barkley’s subsequent refusal to take a Breathalyzer and performance during the field sobriety check provided sufficient cause for arrest. Police found a handgun in his impounded vehicle. Barkley voluntarily submitted to a blood alcohol test and was formally charged with driving while impaired.

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Q: Is it possible to beat a Breathalyzer by sucking on a penny?

A: No, State Patrol trooper Keith Trowbridge said.

Other techniques to bust the Breathalyzer, such as sucking a battery and eating loads of protein, also are urban legends, authorities say.

Created in 1954, Breathalyzers estimate blood-alcohol content by measuring the amount of alcohol in a person’s breath.

A common version of the penny rumor works on the premise that the copper mixes with alcohol in the drunken drivers’ mouth and causes the Breathalyzer to malfunction, showing a ridiculously high reading.

Here’s the catch: Since 1982, United States pennies have been made with a zinc core. Only the plating – 2.5 percent of the penny – is copper.

Previously, pennies were made primarily with copper. But Trowbridge said the trick still doesn’t work with the old coins.

Before giving a drunken driver a Breathalyzer, troopers check the mouth to make sure there’s nothing that could skew the results. “Then,” Trowbridge said, “we start a 15- minute observation before administering the test.”

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