Pennsylvania Police are Using Alcohol Detecting Flashlights to Identify Drunk Drivers in State College
As if we needed more untested, unscientific, inaccurate DUI technology, police in PA have been using DUI flashlights to detect drunk drivers:
High-tech flashlights that can help police identify drunk drivers have arrived in State College, borough authorities announced Monday.
In fact, the flashlights — priced at $700 apiece — have already been in use here for several months, police confirmed. The devices are part of a multi-year, federally funded research project focused on DUI-enforcement effectiveness, borough police Chief Tom King said.
“This is an extension of the officer’s nose,” he told local reporters in a press briefing.
The specialized flashlights, known as passive alcohol sensors, appear as normal flashlights. But when one is placed within five to 10 inches of a motorist’s mouth, it can detect roughly whether he or she has been drinking lightly, moderately, heavily or not at all. Indicator lights illuminate to deliver the reading.
Those readings, while revealing, are not incredibly precise and, taken by themselves, would never be the sole basis for an arrest, King said.
Is anything the police do nowadays accurate? The supposedly high-tech DUI breath machines police use are not accurate, field sobriety tests are not accurate, blood tests are not accurate and now we have DUI flashlights. Instead of spending the money to make sure officers are properly trained, the police is spending their budget on unproven, inaccurate technology.
The downside here is these inaccurate devices will be the basis for DUI arrests because the only thing required for a DUI arrest is the opinion of the investigating officer; an opinion that has been biased by the flashlight results. I am ready to bet that the bureaus using these flashlights will have a higher incidence of false arrests than before.
Now I’m just waiting for my alcohol-detecting 3D glasses.