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Michigan renews its drunk driving war.

Michigan renews its drunk driving war

New technology could replace the 1954-vintage Breathalyzer if police tests that begin later this month show the device helps Michigan's age-old war against drunk drivers.

Almost every law enforcement agency serving Kalamazoo County will be testing the Infrared Intoximeter 3000 for six months before a decision is made on using the system statewide, said Ronald Thill, Michigan State Police program director for breath and alcohol testing.

The instrument uses infrared rays to detect alcohol on a motorist's breath. It is being touted as cheaper, faster and more reliable than its 35-year-old predecessor.

Roadside equipment, which gives only an indication of alcohol, will remain the same; the infrared system will be used when a suspect is brought to the police station.

The unit passes an infrared beam through two chambers of air. One chamber is filled with air that does not contain alcohol. The second contains the breath of the suspect, which may be alcohol-tainted. Any difference is measured and printed.

Officials estimate a cut from 15 minutes per test on the Breathalyzer to three minutes on the new system. The average Breathalyzer test costs $12, compared with $2 for the new test.

A Breathalyzer operator needs four days of training, while the new system requires only two days. The current test requires 40 operational steps. The new system requires the operator to press a single button.

The state has bought eight, $4,000 units for the pilot program, which is being funded by federal grant through the Office of Highway Safety Planning, a division of state police.
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Title Annotation:introduction of the Infrared Intoximeter 3000
Publication:Modern Brewery Age
Date:Oct 23, 1989
Words:263
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