Alcohol Sensing Flashlights? What’s Next In Detecting Drunk Drivers?

Most people expect that, if pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving, they’ll be given the traditional Breathalyzer test that checks to ensure blood alcohol content (BAC) is less than .08 percent. This is likely why so many individuals have tried to come up with ways to beat the Breathalyzer, such as by putting pennies or coal in their mouth, and avoid a DUI charge.

None of these old wives’ tales are accurate, but even if they were, there is a new emerging technology that’s sure to assist in the conviction of those who opt to drive under the influence.

DUI Flashlight Technology

One of the most stunning new technologies related to the war on drunk driving is related to flashlights that can detect the presence of alcohol. These devices look very similar to the regular flashlights that people have been using for countless years, but they contain sensors within them that can actually detect whether or not a person has alcohol on their breath.

If an individual has been drinking, a green light on the specialty flashlight will illuminate. It should be noted that this won’t give a court-admissible breath test reading to the officer, but it will grant them the necessary probable cause to request the tests that can then be used as evidence in a court of law.

Portable Drug Tests

A type of DUI that many people fail to consider are those related to ingesting drugs. In most cases, police will have to rely on their senses to judge whether or not a person is under the influence of drugs while driving. If they believe this to be the case, they can request that an individual perform a drug test. If the person refuses, however, the Supreme Court has stated that an officer cannot force a blood test. The Los Angeles Police Department, however, has started using a new roadside swabbing kit that can perform a drug test on the spot.

Montgomery County PA DUI lawyer, Steven E Kellis lists on his website the very harsh penalties that are handed down when an individual refuses a blood test. “If you refuse to have one or more tests for breath, blood or urine, your license will be suspended for one year. This is in addition to penalties for the DUI offense. Even if you are found not guilty of DUI and have refused the test, your license will be suspended for one year. A two and a half year suspension may result if you refuse to take the test and you are determined to be DUI, depending on your BAC level at the time of the arrest.

If you refuse to test and have a prior DUI conviction you will receive an eighteen-month suspension for refusal plus eighteen more months for DUI. A first offense results in 6 months probation, a $300 fine, and no suspension. A second offense results in 5 days to 6 months in prison, a $300 to $2500 fine, and a 12-month suspension. A third offense brings 10 days to 2 years in prison, a $500 to $5000 fine, and a 12-month suspension.”

Ignition Interlock Devices

Some of the most well-known drunk driving prevention tools, other than the traditional Breathalyzer, are ignition interlock devices. These devices are often mandated by the courts to be installed on the vehicles of those who have faced multiple, or sometimes even one-time, DUI convictions. These devices will require an individual to blow into an alcohol sensor before their vehicle will start.

Additionally, the device oftentimes requires rolling retests which will necessitate a person blowing into the sensor again. If the device detects too much alcohol in a person’s system, this information is reported to either police or the person’s probation officer.

Drunk Driving Prevention Vehicle

Amazingly enough, even motor vehicle manufacturers are getting in on the DUI prevention game, and this new technology can benefit society as well as helping a person avoid a DUI. Nissan, for instance, is working on a vehicle that has the ability to detect alcohol through the sweat on a person’s hand when they go to put the car in gear. If they’re under the influence, the vehicle will not start. Since many people get behind the wheel without realizing just how drunk they are, this technology can be a lifesaver.

Additionally, the new vehicle will be able to detect if a person is fatigued and potentially about to pass out by monitoring their faces. If this occurs, a voice alert will ring out in the vehicle and the driver’s seat belt will tighten to alert them. On top of all of this great preventative technology, the car will also issue the same voice and seat belt alert if the driver is swerving on the highway.

DUI testing technology has been evolving for closing in on a century now, and there’s little doubt that as scientific knowledge continues to evolve, so will this technology. It should be noted, though, that as with all new scientific advancements, there will likely be a readjustment period in which the technology is not 100 percent accurate. Due to this, innocent individuals may face DUI charges, and only having a skilled attorney is likely to help in these situations.

Teresa Stewart is a freelance writer who frequently researches DUI laws. She discovered that Steven E Kellis is a former DUI prosecutor and very knowledgeable about Pennsylvania DUI laws.


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