Friday, April 06, 2007

Justices hear arguments concerning new DWI analyzer | Home News Tribune Online

Justices hear arguments concerning new DWI analyzer: "Justices hear arguments concerning new DWI analyzer Home News Tribune Online 04/6/07 By MICHAEL RISPOLI GANNETT STATE BUREAU TRENTON — As some 10,000 people await sentencing on drunken-driving charges, the reliability of the new machine used by the police to measure blood-alcohol levels was argued before a crowded state Supreme Court Thursday. At the center of the debate likely to set the foundation of future DWI cases is the Alcotest, a new blood-alcohol analyzer seen by many as an improvement upon the decades-old Breathalyzer. But defense lawyers challenge the test's accuracy, saying that because it has not been independently tested and verified there is no way of telling if it is as accurate as the state and its manufacturers claim it to be. 'We don't know whether (the machine) is ultimately reliable because they haven't given us the information as to how the machine actually runs,' said Evan M. Levow, a Cherry Hill lawyer and member of the defense team. Drager Safety Diagnostics, which manufactures the Alcotest, in the past had refused requests to review of the machine's internal software code, calling it proprietary information, but a tentative deal agreed to by both sides in the legal dispute would allow an independent software house to do a line-by-line analysis of the code. Whether or not this agreement goes forward depend on the Supreme Court's decision. Unlike the Breathalyzer, the Alcotest does not rely on the operator — in most cases a police officer — to properly judge the results. Rather, after the suspect blows into the machine, a printout of the results comes straight from the computer to read. In February, a 268-pa"

1 comment:


Don't trust breath alcohol tests that depend on secret software.

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