Utah’s Breath Test Guesser

    In Utah, it is illegal to drive when your blood/breath alcohol content is over a .08%. To determine how much alcohol is in your breath, the government uses three methods: a breath machine, a blood sample, or a urine sample. The most common method to test for alcohol in a person’s system is using the breath machine. Utah uses two different machines made by the same company: the Intoxilyzer 5000 and the Intoxilyzer 8000. The technicians that maintain these machines for the government used to argue that the Intoxilyzer 5000 was state of the art machine. Now, they argue that the Intoxilyzer 8000 is more accurate that other machines. Doesn’t that raise a question about the accuracy of the machines? If the 5000 was so accurate, why then is the 8000 even more accurate. Stephen Hamilton in Lubbock Texas writes about how these machines are breath test guessers. The machine is simply guessing what your alcohol content is at the time you take the test.

    Guessing! Why is the government employing a program that guesses your alcohol content and then tells the world that you or your loved one was driving while intoxicated? Everyone knows that if you give two simultaneous breath tests, one will not be the same as the other.  A breath test is an indirect measurement of what is in your blood. Why doesn’t the government employ a program that takes a direct measurement of what is in your blood like a blood test in all cases?

    Maybe it is too expensive. Maybe it is too inconvenient. Maybe it would show that officers make mistakes in arresting everyone who smells like alcohol. If the government is accusing you of a crime, try to lock you up, take your license from you, and infringe substantially on your life, shouldn’t they use the most accurate means of proving your innocence or guilt instead of using a breath test guesser.

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