Good news for motorists: law enforcement is using something just as unreliable as $2 field drug tests to justify arrests and searches. Field drug tests have been known to declare donut crumbs meth and drywall dust cocaine. Yet they’re still in use, thanks to their low price point. A costlier apparatus, used to determine blood alcohol levels during sobriety tests, appears to be just as broken as cheap drug tests.
Alcotest, made by German medical tech company Draeger, is used by a large number of US law enforcement agencies. Challenges to test results led to Draeger turning code over to defense attorneys, who soon discovered a lot of variables affected breath tests — many of which weren’t addressed by the device’s software or default settings used by officers. Zack Whittaker at ZDNet has the full report:
One attorney, who read the report, said they believed the report showed the breathalyzer “tipped the scales” in favor of prosecutors, and against drivers.