Florida law enforcement agencies use a breath testing device called the Intoxilyzer 8000 to measure an arrested person’s blood alcohol concentration and secure evidence to convict citizens of DUI. Does this small machine accurately measure how drunk you are? Why is it supposed to be more accurate than the machine previously used, the Intoxilyzer 5000? Was that machine accurate if it was replaced?
The science behind breath testing offers insight into the shortcomings of the breath testing machine. Issues such as the following:
Did my partition ratio differ from the 2100:1 standard used in the Intoxilyzer 8000’s software?
Was there another chemical in my breath which the machine misread as alcohol? (the Intoxilyzer does not measure the ethyl alcohol but molecules in the methyl group)
Was my body temperature elevated? (a 1% elevation could cause a 8% increase in the breath result).
The following video clip is interesting. Defense attorneys, Dalli & Marino, have known of this defect in the Intoxilyzer machine for years (positive alcohol reading after eating bread), and manufacturers of the device certainly have a scientific reply for why this result doesn’t prove that the machine is inaccurate. However, the fact that bread is causing the instrument to show an alcohol reading makes you wonder how accurately the software inside this machine is reading alcohol results that lead to convictions.