Articles Tagged with blood alcohol content

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Researchers in Massachusetts are working on a car that will sense whether its driver is too intoxicated to drive, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. The car uses sensors to estimate the driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC), and if the driver’s BAC surpasses a pre-set level, the car will not start.

Cars equipped with the new technology will be able to sense a driver’s BAC in a few different ways, according to researchers. Some cars will use breath testing devices, similar to the ignition interlock devices (IID) already used in many states, including New Hampshire. New breath test sensors will test breath automatically and in less than a second. Others will use sensors installed in places drivers touch frequently, like the steering wheel or door locks, to test the driver’s skin to determine whether the driver’s BAC is above the legal limit.

The research is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation, which estimates that the new technology will keep thousands of drunk drivers off the road each year. However, the sensor-equipped cars will not be available commercially for approximately ten years.

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New Hampshire law enforcement officers who take blood samples to test a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) or look for other intoxicating drugs must follow a strict set of rules to ensure a proper sample is taken. A sample that is not taken properly may be contaminated or be too small to allow for a full range of tests. Unfortunately, many New Hampshire drivers have faced DWI charges on the basis of an improperly collected blood sample.

State law requires that a sample be approximately 20 milliliters to allow for multiple New Hampshire DUI blood tests. A sample this size also allows for a “blood split,” or an independent test for intoxicants. A blood split can be key to challenging your DWI charge, especially if it shows the results of the original test are wrong.

Samples must be taken in sterile conditions, and the items used to sterilize the skin, needle, and other equipment must not contain anything “that would interfere with an analysis for alcohol or drugs.” They must be stored in a proper container, which must contain a preservative to prevent a blood sample from being destroyed by bacteria or separation.

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As the Union Leader recently reported, New Hampshire’s former Liquor Commissioner was recently convicted of driving while intoxicated (DWI), resulting in $620 in fines and a suspended license. But the former Commissioner’s troubles began not with his conviction, but with the DWI charge.

After the former commissioner was arrested for DWI in April, Governor John Lynch fired him, citing the arrest as the cause. Although the governor noted that those who are arrested on suspicion of a crime should be considered innocent until proven guilty, he said that the former liquor commissioner’s behavior was “simply unacceptable.”

The governor was particularly troubled by the former Commissioner’s unwillingness to submit to a breath test to determine his blood alcohol content (BAC) on the night of his arrest. New Hampshire law holds that anyone who receives a New Hampshire drivers’ license has given “implied consent” to law enforcement to obtain a breath or blood sample for testing when the driver is suspected of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

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