Alcohol Breath testing is the cornerstone of Georgia DUI law enforcement. A state administered breath test is really just a guess at the true blood alcohol level of a person. Accuracy is paramount in alcohol breath testing. The number one enemy of accuracy in alcohol breath testing is interference from mouth alcohol. The threat of mouth alcohol is so real that Georgia breath testing protocols have a 3 level protocol to prevent mouth alcohol contamination.
First, there are replicate samples to make sure that samples do not vary more than 0.02 or 25% of the legal limit for alcohol in Georgia of 0.08 within three hours of driving.
Second, there is a 20 minute observation period to make sure that a DUI suspect does not drink, burp or belch alcohol before taking a DUI alcohol breath test.
Finally, breath alcohol devices are equipped with a slope detector to make sure that breath alcohol levels do not start high and decrease indicating mouth alcohol as opposed to start at zero and gradually increase indicating breath alcohol measurement from deep lung air which is the most similar to blood alcohol levels. DUI breath tests are cheaper and faster than more expensive and time consuming but more accurate alcohol blood tests. In September 2012, Georgia Bureau of Investigation evaluated three DUI alcohol breath testing machines for use in evidence in Georgia DUI cases. As seen above, the Intoxilyzer 9000 failed the mouth alcohol interference test with only a 64% accuracy rate at detecting mouth alcohol compared to 100% rejection of test results with mouth alcohol for the Evidenzer 240 and the Data Master Breath testing device.
Why did the Intoxilyzer 9000 fail? Did the Intox 9000 not study? Did the Intox 9000 stay up all night partying? Maybe the dog ate the Intox 9000’s calibration homework? What the weirdest part of this GBI “Evaluation Report” is that the Intoxilyzer 9000 was selected by the State of Georgia for an exclusive multi-million dollar contract to provide DUI alcohol breath test devices for hundreds of police departments and jails across Georgia. Maybe someone has a real cushy job waiting for them after they retire from state government at the manufacturer of the Intox 9000 in Kentucky just like all the Air Force generals who retire to work at Boeing after approving billions in government contracts.
-Author: George Creal