The “Breath Test”: Intoxilyzer 5000

How the breath test machine works

The Intoxilyzer 5000 is the breathalyzer machined relied upon in Texas.? The machine uses infrared to measure the alcohol in your breath to determine the alcohol contrition in your blood.? To do this the machine fires infrared into a chamber that holds the air that someone blows into it.? The details beyond that are protected from disclosure by the manufacture because it is considered ?proprietary information?.?? To ensure the machine is working probably, it fires the infrared into a ?reference sample? that is suppose to be maintained at 0.08.? If the machine doesn?t read the control as being .08 then an error is given indicating the machine isn?t working probably. ?What if the controlled mixture and the machine are wrong?? No one would ever know that it isn?t working during the test.

Curious what the reference sample is?? It?s a glass jar containing a mixture of water and vodka which is mixed and maintained by the ?Technical Supervisor?.

The Good & The Bad

The good thing about them is that they can be reliable if the test procedure is followed and the machine is probably maintained.

The bad thing about them is that they can be reliable?only?if the test procedure is followed and the machine is probably maintained.

Common Issues:

Residual Mouth Alcohol & Observation Period

Prior to blowing into the machine the officer is required to observe the driver for 15 minutes prior to blowing into the machine.? This is because residual alcohol in the month of the driver will cause a false positive in the machine. Many times, this observation period never happens.? The officer?s ?observation? consists of them doing something else while they are ?around? the driver.

Proper Operating Temperature

The machine and the rooms ambient temperature must be proper.? If not then water vapor and other problems can cause the machine to not function properly.

Presence of a Radio Signal

The presence of radio signals could have an impact on the machine working probably.? Think there might be radio signals at the police department?

Exposure to Acetone

It has been show that acetone in the body can cause a false reading on a breath test.? Acetone can be a byproduct of incompletely digestion in individuals in certain insulin levels.? Acetone can also be present due to environmental exposures such as with painters.

Improper ?Reference Sample? & Machine Maintenance

A person called the ?Technical Supervisor? is responsible for making sure the machines are working probably.? This is usually the same person that owes the machines and leases them to the police.?? Sound right?? This person ensures that the ?reference sample? described above is correct.?? Since no one but the company that makes the machine knows how they work, that is all the technical supervisor really does.??What ensures this person checks the machines?? Nothing?as seen?here.

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