What types of alcohol-monitoring technologies are effective to supervise impaired-driving offenders and reduce recidivism?
Breath alcohol testing devices. These devices accurately measure breath alcohol concentration (BrAC) when devices are properly calibrated, maintained, installed, and serviced.
Remote alcohol detection. There are primarily two types of technologies to measure BAC remotely and collect, store and transfer data for a supervising agency. The first technology is a wearable device (usually an ankle bracelet) worn by DWI offenders. It continuously measures BAC through perspiration up to every 30 minutes or as scheduled by probation officers. The device is connected to a modem allowing for daily download of data from the bracelet. The modem stores data including alcohol readings, tamper alerts and body temperature throughout a 24-hour period. The second technology is a stand-alone breath testing unit installed in the residence of DWI offenders (or other convenient location). They must perform tests during designated windows of time or when prompted to do so. These units may also be equipped with camera capabilities to capture images of the person performing the test.
Alcohol ignition interlock device (IID). These devices require drivers to provide a breath sample showing a BAC below .02 or .25 (depending on state regulations) before they can operate their vehicle. Most often the IID is connected to the starter of a vehicle, and the flow of power to the engine is interrupted until an acceptable breath alcohol sample is provided. These devices also require random running re-tests after a vehicle has been started to ensure drivers remain alcohol-free throughout their trip. Data from vehicle events are captured in a data recorder, and a growing number of manufacturers have integrated a camera feature to capture an image of the person providing the breath sample. Data are downloaded from the device at the completion of each service interval (usually 30, 60 or 90 days) and reported to various authorities as required. The calibration of devices is checked regularly at approved service centers.
Other technological tools. There are many different tracking and monitoring solutions that provide real-time location, home confinement capabilities, automated call services and kiosk check-in locations, some with remote alcohol sensing technologies. There are also a variety of tools that can be used to screen for drug usage. Finally, integrated information systems or, at least, access to data from other criminal justice and department of motor vehicle systems is an important feature of the use of monitoring technologies. This capability will allow for efficient monitoring of DWI probationers and other contacts they may have with police, such as alcohol-related arrests and driving infractions.