Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Breathalyzer: Blow me

SOME of us are more anti-DUI than others (sup Rizzo). While I'm not going to argue that people driving drunk is a good thing, I do find it amazing that driving related crimes are the ONLY ones whose cause is taken into consideration. When someone is raped, murdered, robbed, stabbed, beaten up, swindled, no one ever asks "why". The only thing that counts is a crime has been committed.

The way in which logic is thrown out the window when it comes to DUI is breathtaking. Proponents of preventive sobriety tests argue that testing for impaired drivers is a good thing, because accidents will be reduced if they are taken off the road. However, I have yet to see anyone suggest using a PissedOffAlyzer to check to see if people are angry, because everybody knows that angry people get into fights and can hurt someone. Or perhaps a Hornyalyzer, to check for extreme lust, because extremely lustful people can become rapists. On paper these all sound just as good, and they are just as stupid.

But I digress.

What I have always found amazing about the fans of sobriety tests is the incredible faith that people place in breathalyzer machines. One reading is all it takes for a "Guilty" verdict, and the victim is subjected to financial ruin, embarrassment and a loss of the ability to drive. In today's automobile dependent society, this can be devastating.

What I've found even more amazing, is that despite people's vast experiences with failure rates of appliances, computers, cars, websites, telephone systems and so forth, no one ever seems to think that these little machines can actually be wrong. It is as if these have magically become the only infallible devices on the planet.

The reason, I think, is that when it comes to DUI, no one ever sees past the stereotype. There are all these bullshit commercials on TV, which show some drunk dude staggering out to his car, barely able to walk, and then driving off while leaving a trail of devastation in his wake. No one ever thinks about the responsible drinker, that is at the mercy of the thugs, who have quotas to meet, that are preying on the populace with these devices.

To date, the manufacturers have been extremely uncooperative when it comes to showing how their products work, and for years, lawyers have been asking for the source code to examine them in depth. They have been hitting a brick wall.

Until now.

New Jersey attorney Evan M. Levow was finally able to get an order from the Supreme Court of New Jersey forcing the manufacturer of the popular Draeger AlcoTest 7110 to reveal the source code. Levow turned the code over to experts, Base One Technologies, to anaylze.

The DUI blog (a great blog btw), has the full story, and the findings are absolutely amazing.




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