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The Past and Future of Breathalyzers

Although it is now used to refer to any breath-based blood alcohol test, the term Breathalyzer is actually a trademarked name. In fact, there are many things most people don’t know about these devices, including where they came from, as well as where they are going.

Breathalyzer History

Just two short decades after the Drunkometer was developed, a man named Robert Borkenstein developed the now infamous Breathalyzer device in 1954. As the country became more focused on making both cars and roads safer, Breathalyzers quickly became standard-issue for law enforcement nationwide.

The very first drunk driving arrest in recorded history took place way back in 1897, when a taxi driver crashed his cab into a building. Although he pled guilty, it took another 34 years for someone to develop a way to scientifically prove that he was drunk through a breath test alone.

In 1931 Rolla Harger, a toxicologist at Indiana University, developed a device known as the “Drunkometer,” an early precursor to modern breathalyzer devices. The drunk person would first blow into a balloon, and then the balloon would be attached to a beaker with a special chemical solution which would change colors in the presence of alcohol. The more alcohol on someone’s breath, the faster the colors would change. The breathalyzer was created only two decades later.

The Future of Breath Tests

Breath BAC tests are still highly flawed, and researchers will undoubtedly continue to work on ways to improve the accuracy and reliability of these machines. The real future of breath test devices, however, will most likely be the development of a device that can detect other drugs. Marijuana breathalyzers are in development, but they face a number of scientific challenges. Researchers from Washington State University, however, have had limited success with a device they claim could be modified to detect other illicit drugs such as cocaine, heroin, and many more.

Arrested for DUI? Call 805-467-6542.

Many people believe that Breathalyzer tests are always 100% accurate, but this is simply not the case. In many instances, the way the test was administered, the calibration, or even your diet can cause wildly inaccurate results. When you choose to be represented by The Law Office of Christopher P. Welch, you can expect tireless, committed defense to fight the charges against you.

Contact our firm today for your free case evaluation.