Utah uses two machines that are manufactured by the same company. Both work on the same principles. The newest machine is the intoxilyzer 8000. This is the most common machine that is being used at this point because it is mobile. It can be carried in an officer’s car. Every night, in Salt Lake City, there is a DUI squad of officers circling around bars waiting to pull people over for minor infractions. If the officer does not have the 8000 machine with him, he calls the carrying officer to bring the machine to the place where he has a person under investigation for DUI. The 5000EN is used in Utah, but seems to be phasing out and replaced by the 8000. The question, are the machines accurate? If you take a breath test, you would hope that it tests your system for alcohol.
A recent study showed that not to be the case. A man was in the park, allegedly very inebriated. He presented himself as being lethargic, having slurred speech, and ataxia. He looked drunk. He was tested by the officers with a 5000EN machine. The result was .288, which is almost 4 times the legal limit.
He was taken to the hospital. The hospital ran a blood test on the man and found no alcohol in his system. Instead, methanol was found in his system. The man was suicidal and drank a gas line anti-freeze known as Heet. The breath test machine read methanol as being alcohol. What if a person works with chemicals all day long and absorbs these chemicals into the blood system. The person is then pulled over for some small infraction, like a license plate light out, and tested for alcohol? The machine says the man is guilty of being over a .08 and should be convicted of DUI, when in fact the machine was in error. The article is below.