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It’s Just A Decimal Point: The Dirty Secret Behind Breathalyzers

Posted on October 25th, 2007 in , , | 403 Comments

Its Just A Decimal Point: The Dirty Secret Behind Breathalyzers In 1990, the New Jersey courts declared that the science was settled, the debate was over: breath analysis is a reliable and accurate means by which to determine blood alcohol content (BAC). This proclamation is known as the “Downie decision.”

The lead witness, who held the most sway in the court’s opinion, was Dr. Dubowski, a forensic scientist with a history of research experience dealing with Breathalyzers and alcohol breath analysis. A study he published in 1985 was considered the pre-eminent work in this field.

The Downie case revolved around the accuracy of breath analysis in terms of serving as a surrogate for actual BAC. One aspect would be of particular importance from the defendant’s perspective; how often does the alcohol breath analysis regimen overstate actual BAC?

Dr. Dubowski testified that his research determined that in only 2.3 percent of the tests did the breath reading overstate the actual BAC. This was the first time this number was made publicly available; it had not been presented in his 1985 report.

Another witness in the Downie case, Dr. Gerald Simpson, a physical chemist also testified, and attempted to describe the variables that could render a Breathalyzer reading inaccurate. The court largely disregarded his testimony in favor of the assured endorsement of breath analysis offered by Dr. Dubowski.

The court determined that the use of breath alcohol was scientifically valid for the purpose of determining BAC. Was that the end of the story? Not quite.

After the Downie trial, Dr. Simpson obtained the actual data from Dr. Dubowski’s 1985 report. In applying the same analysis to the data that Dr. Dubowski used, Dr. Simpson discovered a major error. The incidences when breath analysis overstated actual BAC were not 2.3 percent of the tests, as Dr. Dubowski had testified to in the Downie case, but rather 23 percent of the tests – a wandering decimal point!

Dr. Simpson then published his findings in a respected scientific journal. They were never rebutted and Dr. Dubowski remained silent on the subject.

Attorneys across the country have taken note of the breathalyzer’s failings. This has lead authorities to resort to more invasive measures, including letting officers perform blood draws with very little training.

Recent research proves that measuring breath to determine actual BAC is a horrendously flawed concept. Errors can approach 50 percent! Still, even 15 years ago it was known and could be proven that in almost one quarter of Breathalyzer tests the readings were higher than the actual BAC.

How many thousands of people had their lives turned upside down, suffered major financial losses, lost jobs, and had their reputations destroyed by a system that used junk science to push its agenda?


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403 Responses to “It’s Just A Decimal Point: The Dirty Secret Behind Breathalyzers”

  1. Derek says:

    This is what happened to me, in 2006 I think it was, I had an accident on the ice in Sayreville after coming back from New York. I was in the city for approximately five or six hours that night, and had 4 and a half light beers. I had finished my last beer and walked around the city for awhile then decided to come home, (this was about 3 hours after my last beer). The drive from the city to where I lived was about 2 hours. This incident happened one hour and thirty minutes into my drive.

    At around 2:30 or so, I slid on the ice and hit a light pole coming off the expressway. about 20 or so minutes later a State Trooper pulled up and asked me if I was ok and then asked if I had anything to drink that night. I explained to him that I had a few beers but it had been quite a while ago since my last. He asked me to step out of the car and do a roadside sobriety test. I had done all that he asked and to my knowledge had done everything ok except for one thing, standing on one leg and and pointing my toes up. I have always had a problem with balance which I had explained to the officer and even told him that I was unable to do that when I applied for the military years prior. Also, the ground was icy and slanted because we were on an exit ramp. He placed me under arrest and said that he was taking me in for a breathalyzer test. I went along without any problem and had a clear and intelligable conversation with him while in his car.

    We got to the station and he gave me the test. I was told that I had a .1 as a result. At this point it was almost five hours since my last drink. I asked him how that was possible and he said that the machine sometimes fails. I was then put into a holding cell till someone could come pick me up. Several months later I got a notice to be in court, I went to the court as instructed and was appointed the Public Defender. I had several court dates and showed up to all of them on time and waited to see Mr. D’Ambrosio. While speaking with him, I was also doing research on why and how I could have gotten a false positive on the machine. It turned out that if you have given blood (which I had several times for a phlebotomy class I was taking at the time), if you are a heavy smoker (I am), ate or drank anything, (I had a Listerine breath strip), had a cold or had been sick (which I was), and even were under stress (such as being in an accident) that you could give a false positive on the machine as it does NOT actually test the amount of alcohol in your system but instead a byproduct found in every bodies systems that can be elevated from numerous outside factors . Also I had found out that the machine that was being used in the testing was not manufactured since the mid 1960’s (an old Draeger) and that they had been deemed much less accurate, by most states (even by officials in New Jersey) because they only rely on one type of test, as opposed to the new machines that have 2-3 levels of testing and that it is not based on the operator’s judgement or interpretation. I had also asked to see the tape of the roadside test and to get the report on how I had failed the roadside test. I was told that there was no tape (which I do know that there is a tape of all incidents, especially ones involving an open court case).

    In the last half of 2008, I was being forced to move out of my apartment, I had to move and could not afford to live in Jersey on my own and was unable to find a roomate in such short notice. I decided to move out of state. I called my attorney as he instructed me to do in the event of any
    contact changes. I explained to his secretary that I had to leave, and that I needed to be informed when my next court appointment would be. I gave her my contact information (she wouldn’t let me speak to Mr. D’Ambrosio). She told me that the information would be given to him and that they will let me know when I have to be in court again.

    It is January 2010, I hadn’t heard anything from the courts or an attorney, (until I called them) I was told that Mr. D’Ambrosio is no longer the public defender for Sayreville. I went to get a license and was told that they cannot issue one due to the fact that there is a bench warrant out for me in New Jersey for an FTA. When I called the court, I spoke to a very rude woman who told me that I had a $1000 restitution fee and that I have to appear in court NOW. I explained to her that I was unaware of a new court date and that I was not in New Jersey to at the time that they supposedly sent out the last notice. She told me that they didn’t get any returned mail and that I must have gotten it and disregarded it. I asked her who the new Public Defender was and how I can get in conact with someone about the case, and she told me that she would not give me any information until I pay $1000, then said that she was ending the conversation and hung up on me.

    Now, I am in Tennessee, and I had a job until last week due to cut backs, I was laid off. I have no money to get to New Jersey, and I do not have $1000 at my disposal. Considering I was not drunk and that I had attempted to prove that, and did not get the speedy OR fair trial that I was/ am entitled to, what are my options here?

    Prior to all of this I was in a great position, I had been in the medical field for almost 12 years and had not had any problems with the law. Now I am stuck being blamed for something that I did not do, and cannot get a license. I am also being turned away for jobs.

    • Phil Mckrackin says:

      You drove after drinking, You make excuses of why you couldn’t possibly have had a blood alcohol content that was tested and excuses of why you failed the field sobriety tests. Sounds like you have trouble taking responsibility for your actions. Truth be known you failed to show for an appearance(hence the bench warrant). Now you are trying to get a license and want to subvert the system that you mocked with your failure to appear. I have only 1 bit of advice if you are man enough to tip the beers be man enough to face the consequences.

  2. Tom says:

    Wow, Becky, I havent seen someone make that big a fool of herself in a long time. In Arizona, 1 in 3 officers are trained to do a blood draw on the street, the rest are done at the station. The only time a hospital is ever used is during instances of alcohol poisoning. Do you realize how crowded a hospital would be if every drunk pulled over were taken to one? Idiot!!

  3. Phil Mckrackin says:

    Before you take this idiotic rant as gospel read what else the NMA provides for us on this subject.

    In the editorial entitled “9 Ways To Improve Traffic Safety That The Government Will Ignore Because They Are Too Busy Ticketing You” look at way #6:

    6) Turning Lanes at Stop-Controlled Intersections
    At intersections with significant turning volume, turning lanes for right and left turns on major road approaches can dramatically reduce crashes — in some cases, by as much as 55 percent.

    Then look at # 3 in the editorial entitled “6 Dumb Traffic Laws That Should Be Repealed” by By Eric Peters, Automotive Columnist:

    3) No Left At Light
    Cousin to the no-right-on-red rule, this is the one where you find yourself at an intersection wanting to make a left turn across an opposing lane of traffic onto a sidestreet. But instead of a “yield to oncoming traffic” green light – sensible policy – you’re stuck with a red light made just for you – on the assumption you’ve got inch-thick cataracts and the ability to judge the speed and distance of oncoming traffic of Mr. Magoo. You’re supposed to wait patiently for the green arrow — even when there’s no oncoming traffic at all and you could literally get out and push the car safely across the intersection. Like no right on red, it’s a well-intended law designed to protect the worst drivers out there from their own marginal skills and poor judgment — at the expense of everyone else.

    Do they want the crash reduction of upto 55% or the ability to choose when to cross by themselves. Before eric Peters went off on his rant did he read the other editorial that would have told him that having the left turn lane and arrow would decrease his risk of crash by as much as 55% in some cases, apparently not. These are the things I get annoyed at on the website both are presented as fact but they contradict each other. Additionally the 1st editorial says that the turning lanes will improve traffic safety but the government refuses to initiate them because the government is corrupt and would rather ticket you instead of impliment this intersection feature. Apparently the author of that article has no clue what he is talking about based upon Eric peters rant because he is complaining that this feature is implimented way too often and is an annoyance to him. So is it safer and not implimented enough because the venues are greedy and want to ticket drivers or is it implimented way too often in an attempt by the government to dumb down the traffic control. This is the kind of crap the NMA provides for us. They obviously both can’t be correct so which one should we believe? If we can’t count on the NMA to verify that content is correct can we trust any of thier editorials to provide us with useful information?

  4. Ben Cantrall says:

    I was recently convicted on a DUII charge in the state of Oregon. They took my drivers licsense for 1 year, resulting in the loss of my employment. I was told that there are a few states in the country that are considered “right to drive” states that will issue a drivers licsense even after conviction. is this true? and if it is, what states are they?

    • Phil Mckrackin says:

      Yes Ben In my state they issue what is called a conditional license which is primarily so that you don’t lose your emloyment and is restricted so that you can drive to and from work/school and to accomplish necessary functions of your life. Get caught outside those restrictions and you risk getting you permanent driver’s license back for a long time. It is my understanding that other states have similar provisions

  5. Phil Mckrackin says:

    the 2007 NHTSA safety facts overview. Most current I have, I am not sure if the 2008 figures are available yet or when they will be.

  6. Jim Collins says:

    Phil,
    What is the source of your numbers on alcohol impaired fatalities?

  7. Phil Mckrackin says:

    Bryan,
    The advice I would give you is to not believe much of what you are told here. Instead gather information and then check the facts that are reported to you by NMA members. I am not a member, but I would expect that you check anything I write to you also.
    Lets examine what Mr Young has tried to lead you to believe. That NHTSA has an overly broad definition of “speed-related” crashes and therefore the data that they report must be skewed to over represent crashes that are “speed-related”.
    “NHTSA considers a crash to be speeding-related if the driver was charged with a speeding-related offense or if an officer indicated that racing, driving too fast for conditions, or exceeding the posted speed limit was a contributing factor in the crash.” Quoted directly from the 2007 NHTSA safety facts overview.(note they call it “speeding-related” not “speed-related”)
    As you can see there is already a difference in what Mr Young told you to be fact and what is fact. Mr Young uses the term “speed-related” so that he can decieve you into believing that anything related to speed such as speed too slow for conditions would be lumped into this category, while NHTSA is quite clear when they say “speeding-related”. Mr You would even have you believe that an unsafe lane change would fall under NHTSA definition of “speed-related” Read the definition again does it?

    “In 2007, speeding(as per NHTSA’s definition) was a contributing factor in 31 percent of all fatal crashes, and 13,040 lives were lost in speeding-related crashes.”

    “In 2007, 39 percent of the 15-to 20-year-old male drivers who were involved in fatal crashes were speeding at the time of the crash.”

    “In 2007, there were 12,998 alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities. This is a decrease of 4 percent compared to 2006 (13,491 fatalities), and it represents an average of one alcohol-related fatality every 40 minutes.”
    “The 12,998 alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities in 2007 (32% of total traffic fatalities for the year) represent a 2-percent increase from the 12,757 alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities reported in 1997 (30% of the total)”

    With regards to your post. According to the data that NHTSA is reporting 31% of all fatal crashes are speeding-related(refer to thier definition). Also according to NHTSA 32% of all fatal crashes involved alcohol-impaired-driving. Speeding related fatalities is second only to DUI fatalities. If you had specifically asked only about the alcohol-impaired-driving fatalities Mr Young would have told you that NHTSA over defines that category to over represent how many people actually die as a result of DUIs also.
    I don’t want you to believe me I want you to check the facts google NHTSA 2007 traffic safety facts and read for yourself.Then ask yourself why Mr Young would decieve you in such a manner. Mr Young is a member of the NMA and you’d also have to consider that if he will decieve you so too will the NMA just read some of thier articles and check the reported facts in each and make that determination yourself but by all means don’t be a sheep and just believe what they tell you.

  8. James Young says:

    {My girlfriend did a report in college and tells me speeding is involved in more accidents and death than DWI’s. What kind of scum is involved in acting like their trying to protect people if this is true.}

    That’s not even close to true. Even using the bizarre definitions used by NHTSA, where “speed-related” includes any involved driver over a posted limit, too slow for conditions, too fast for conditions and unsafe lane changes, speed as a cause of crashes is about 5%-7%.

    {Can we get somebody on this, surly the Department Transportation would get this right, wouldn’t they?}

    No. Their goal is not always public safety.

  9. Bryan says:

    My girlfriend did a report in college and tells me speeding is involved in more accidents and death than DWI’s. What kind of scum is involved in acting like their trying to protect people if this is true. After speeding or before, ? was, inattention. Then, maybe even, something else before DWI’s. Can we get somebody on this, surly the Department Transportation would get this right, wouldn’t they? If the economy goes bust will DWI’s stay as huge?

  10. surftrunks says:

    people please stop responding to phil his crack in…and i got $20 says phil CANNOT sit aside and say nothing. no matter what you say he takes it as a poke in the chest and no amount of persuasion can impress him.

    let’s say he works all day in a garage and has NO drinks at all…might his breathalyzer show a reading. too bad phil, you are f*cked. fiortunately there are lots of us folks who are working to see that you get a fair trial…you just better hope there are no mccrackins on that jury…

    crummy science? you bet.

    drunk drivers…bad.

    better 100 guilty go free than a single innocent be wrongly convicted.

    • Jim Collins says:

      Hell, given the amount of these type chemicals in use in the average garage, the girl who answers the phone would blow a false positive on a cool day with limited ventilation.

    • Phil Mckrackin says:

      To all those who read these blogs. I am YOUR advocate and I am only correcting the misinformation that is being given to you by the NMA and James Baxter. Read his article up there and then google Dr Simpson and read some of the transcripts or summaries of testimony that come up. Pay special attention to the following issues:
      1) The 2.3% vs 23% that James Baxter has asserted was Dr Dubowski lying on the stand. What those two numbers represent are two entirely different things that any reasonably educated person can discern simply by reading the testimony.
      2) Dr Simpson’s field of expertises is something other than Blood Alcohol Content or breath testing as it relates to Blood Alcohol Content. Note that Dr Simpson although, a physical chemist was retired when he became interested in B.A.C. and Breath testing for B.A.C.
      3) Dr Simpson Regarded Dr Dubowski as a leader in the field of Breath testing. Dr Simpson did write articles on this subject but performed NO ORIGINAL EXPERIMENTS in this field but rather relied on other researchers data for his analysis. One of those researchers just happen to be Dr Dubowski.
      4) Take note of the breathalyzer actually has a tendency to underestimate B.A.C. some 11%
      5) Take note that in the case cited by Mr Baxter there is testimony about the alternatives to testing the Breath to determine B.A.C. They discuss drawing blood because they point out how logistically it could not be done in the field. If Mr Baxter read this testimony, as he would have you believe, He wouldn’t say anything like “This has lead authorities to resort to more invasive measures, including letting officers perform blood draws with very little training.”
      6) To address the issue of Mr Baxter’s assertion that “The court largely disregarded his testimony(Dr Simpson) in favor of the assured endorsement of breath analysis offered by Dr. Dubowski.” Dr Dubowski’s testimony was corroborated by the testimony of both defense and prosecution witnesses. Dr Simpson himself testified that Dr Dubowski was a leading authority in this field.
      7) Also take note that there is a difference between the forensic science community which has different standards of scientific rigor than “mainstream” scientists.
      8) Simpson in his testimony estimated that about 90% of the
      total uncertainty of testing B.A.C. through the use of breath came from biological factors associated with the blood-breath ratio not the instrument. Wjile Mr Baxter would lead you to believe that it is the instrument that is faulty that creates variations in tests.

      Now all those reading this far should ask themselves some important questions:
      1) Do you want to be a follower and simply believe what Mr Baxter is telling you without checking any facts? It didn’t take me long at all to verify that Mr Baxter was mis-informing his readers.
      2) Why is Mr Baxter referencing a case from the early 1990s when there are more recent cases that deals with this very same issue? As recent as the decision date of January 2007? I’ll tell you why he wouldn’t use a case that new. Because by using the 1990 case it makes it look as if the science is old and that the Courts only decided in favor of the Breath testing because they are corrupt.
      3) How do you feel being lied to by Mr Baxter and being used as a pawn like Surftrunks in Mr Baxter’s personal agenda?

      I don’t expect you to believe me and all I really want is for you to check the facts that Mr Baxter is using as evidence this method of testing intoxication is “horrendously flawed”. Then ask yourself after you see that Mr Baxter has lied to you if you can trust anything he writes on any subject here, if you can trust the NMA to be what they claim to be or are you just pawns in thier grand scheme to accomplish an angenda?

    • Phil Mckrackin says:

      Jim Collins would have you believe that simply walking around absorbing minute amounts of chemicals in the air would cause everyone to test positive for alcohol in thier system. Not only does he believe that you’d be positive but that you could be labeled intoxicated by the results. This is simply untrue and I believe his anecdotal evidence to be fabricated along the lines of what he believes to be true. I have several rebuttals to his theory:
      1) Most mechanics wear latex or other protective gloves while working with any of these chemicals to avoid absorbing them through thier skin and masks to prevent from inhaling the vapors. Actaully most hobby mecahnics also do the very same thing which causes me to question how you could have absorbed enough, while working around a gas tank to create a high positive reaction with the Breathalyzer, If you were wearing protective gear. If the answer is you weren’t wearing protective gear I question your ability to make good decisions.
      2) If there is enough ethanol based chemical absorbed through the skin, by failure to wear protective gear, to cause a B.A.C. reading high enough for you to be considered intoxicated aren’t you intoxicated even though you had no intent on being intoxicated?

  11. Jim Collins says:

    I’m not going to read all of the comments to see if this has already been posted. Breathalyzers do NOT measure alcohol. They measure the amount of certain methyl groups of chemicals of which ethyl alcohol happens to belong.

    Last Saturday I helped a friend change the fuel tank in his van. It took us the entire day to complete the job. Later that evening my friend came with me to a meeting of an Explorers club that I work with. My friend happens to be a local Police Officer and was there to give the usual “Don’t Drink and Drive” presentation that he gives every year at this time. He brought a brethalyser with him and the kids were taking turns being tested. One of them came up to me and asked why I wasn’t taking a turn, so I agreed to do it. Imagine my surprise when my reading came back .28. My friend looks at me and says “That can’t be right! I was with you all day.”. He then decided to test himself and came up with a .23. He said that he was calling the company that maintains the breathalyzer on Monday to have it checked. Monday night he calls me and tells me that the machine checked out fine. When he told the tech about what happened, he was asked if he was around gasoline or any other chemicals. When he said “Yes”, the tech told him that the body’s absorption of these chemicals could distort the machine’s readings.

    The breathalyzer was not originally intended to be the sole instrument used in deciding if a person was intoxicated, it was to determine if there was cause to take a person to a hospital to have blood drawn for a more accurate measurement.

    I don’t know what, if anything Phil does for a living, but let’s say that he is a car mechanic. Through out his day he is exposed to chemicals like gasoline, brake cleaner, solvents, hand cleaner and possibly paint. When Phil is done for the day, he stops on the way home for a couple of beers. After having 2 beers in about an hour, Phil leaves the bar. On his way home, he gets stopped at a DUI checkpoint, a breathalyzer test is administered and Phil blows a .09. How much of that .09 is the 2 beers and how much of that .09 is the chemicals that Phil was exposed to through out the day, that his body is now purging from his system through his breath? A simple way to tell, would be to have a lab test a sample of Phil’s blood and measure the different chemicals and their levels, but, this doesn’t have to be done. The State says that the breathalyzer is always right. It is up to Phil to PROVE his innocence. In the mean time the chemical levels in Phil’s blood are changing by the minute, how is he to obtain evidence to prove himself innocent? Tough luck Phil. You are screwed.

    • Phil Mckrackin says:

      I am aware that certain substances and chemicals will effect the Breathalyzer. I am not certain if the 10% ethanol that gasoline contains is one of them. However if the Breathalyzer operator is doing his job correctly exposure to a substance that will effect the breatalyzer will be detected prior to the administration of the test. That being said your story sounds fabricated. Even if your story is not fabricated the breathalyzer measures ethyl alcohol content of the blood. It does this because the ethyl alcohol is absorbed through various membranes and into the blood as the blood passes over the alveoli The alcohol evaporates because it is “volatile” in a solution, meaning that its molecules do not combine with the liquid that it mixes with, allowing it to be released by the person’s breath. That alcohol content of the breath exhaled into a breathalyzer then reacts with the solution of sulfuric acid, potassium dichromate, silver nitrate and water. the alcohol is then absorbed into the liquid solution, where the potassium dichromate proceeds to break it down. The alcohol is broken down into chromium sulfate, potassium sulfate, acetic acid, and water. This portion of the process causes the color change. The dichromate ion is reddish-orange, while the chromium ion that the dichromate is broken down into is green. The observed degree of color change is based on the amount of evaporated alcohol expelled in the breath. The chemical reaction takes place in only one vial. The other vial remains in its original state, as part of the photocell system. The instrument then passes light through both vials at a photocell and measures how much the solution in the test vial has changed compared to the vial that contains the unaffected solution.

      Some natural and volatile interfering compounds do exist. For example, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has found that dieters and diabetics may have acetone levels hundreds and even thousand of times higher than those in others. Acetone is one of the many substances that can be falsely identified as ethyl alcohol by SOME breath machines. A study in Spain showed that metered-dose inhalers (MDIs) used in asthma treatment can also cause a false positives in SOME breath machines. Substances in the environment can also lead to false BAC readings. For example, methyl tert-butyl ether (MTBE), a common gasoline additive, has been alleged anecdotally to cause false positives in persons exposed to it. Tests have shown this to be true in SOME older machines. Any number of other products found in the environment or workplace can also cause erroneous BAC results. These include compounds found in lacquer, paint remover, celluloid, gasoline, and cleaning fluids, especially ethers, alcohols, and other volatile compounds.

      However, newer machines such as the Draeger Breathalyzer and Alcotest 7110 detect this interference and either filter out or compensate for it.

      I would assume your friend who is the Police officer is a part time Police officer and the instrument that he is afforded to utilize for his talks is actually an out of service smith and wesson model 900 or 900A that utilizes two vials of the above mentioned compound which is subject to the adverse effects of other volatile compounds.

      You, as many others often do, seem to assume that a person is arrested based upon the results of this scientific instrument. That is not the case a person who exhibits poor judgement while driving and becomes suspected of driving while intoxicated is pulled over and put through a series of field sobriety tests. Only after he fails these field sobriety tests demonstrating his inability to properly operate a motor vehicle is this person arrested and subsequently given a breathalyzer. There are procedures in place that help an officer determine if a DUI suspect has been exposed to substances that may skew the results. Many of the substances that can skew the results do so in an adverse manner, meaning that the results would indicate a B.A.C. so high that it is unbelievable to the operator because a person with that high of a B.A.C. should have died from alcohol poisoning. I would without hesitation sit and take a breathalyzer anytime I have been driving with absolute confidence in it’s results.

  12. Phil Mckrackin says:

    Just as I thought “Surftrunks” You have done little to no checking of the so called facts spewed upon you by the author of this article and the NMA.

  13. Phil Mckrackin says:

    I am stupid? You read the misinformation that the NMA provides in order to propagandize you into believing that there is a huge injustice that they are trying to right. Have you read anything about this subject or are you merely taking the NMA’s word for it? Lets examine actually where the NMA is misdirecting you. Dubowski testified in the Downie case (aka State vs Downie Supreme court of N.J. January 1990) The NMA would have you believe that Dubowski lied under oath when he stated that in 2.3% of cases would the breathalyzer over state the actual B.A.C potentially to the detriment of the accused. Mr Baxter leads you astray by implying that the actual B.A.C would be overstated in 23% of cases, which is a misinterpretation of facts. The 23% that he eludes to is actually 22.7% of the time that a persons partition ratio will be within 2.58 standard deviations of the 2100:1 partition ratio assuring 99% confidence that the Br.A.C. accurately represents the B.A.C. of arterial blood flowing to the brain, which is something altogether different. Mr Baxter also misdirects you to believe that Dr simpson wrote the article using Dr Dubowski’s data as related to his being a physical chemist when in actuality he was retired when he wrote that article. Dr Simpson designed and performed tests on the intoxilyzer 4011-A and the Alco sensor III both pocket breath screening devices not breathalyzers. Dr Simpson also has never conducted an original experiment with regards to breath-testing but rather relies upon the published works of others for his analysis. In testimony on this subject Dr Simpson recognizes Dr Dubowski as a leading figure in the breath-testing community. Mr Baxter goes on to imply that, because Dr Dubowski didn’t rebutt Dr Simpson’s article, Therefore, Dr Simpson must be correct. What Mr Baxter doesn’t tell you is that another Scientist in the breath-testing community Dr Jones of Sweden (Who simpson also regards in testimony as a leading figure in the breath-testing community) published rebuttals of several of simpson’s articles. Dr HLastala also testified for the defense in the Downey case within that testimony Dr HLastala agreed that using a partion ratio of 2100:1 tended to underestimate the B.A.C. not overestimate them as Mr Baxter would have you believe. For Mr Baxter to state or imply things like “Recent research proves that measuring breath to determine actual BAC is a horrendously flawed concept. Errors can approach 50 percent! Still, even 15 years ago it was known and could be proven that in almost one quarter of Breathalyzer tests the readings were higher than the actual BAC.” There are studies available, alot more recent than those Mr Baxter cites, which show that actual breathalyzer result of the Intoxilyzer 5000, the 900, 900A models and the Alcotest 7110 all correlate well with actual B.A.C. while demonstrating a low bias by under estimating the B.A.C. some 11+% of the time primarily because of the 2100:1 partition ratio used. Most people have a partition ratio of 2300:1. However 2100:1 is used as a rough estimate that has been calibrated to give the benefit of the doubt to the accused in most instances. 1 additional point you have to ask why Mr Baxter is using such old articles and citing such an old case there have been cases more recent that dealt with this issue and more current articles in the Journal of forensic science that address this issue. The immediate Error you make is that you believe Mr. Baxter and the NMA When they tell you that the methodology is faulty. This methodology has been tested and has been recognized in high courts as reliable. That Mr Baxter would stoop so low to be intellectually dishonest in order to further his own agenda is unforgivably sad. That you fall in ranks behind him like a sheep and believe everything he says to you without ever checking a fact is pathetic. To misrepresent facts in a manner to try and discredit the best method we currently have of removing drunks from the roadways is condoning drunk driving. The plight of those wronged by drunk drivers is equaled only by how they are wronged by your ignorant support of the likes of James Baxter and the NMA.

  14. surftrunks says:

    good lord you’re stupid phil. and your blowhard bullshit must surely be tiresome to those who know you. we all know a guy like you…the guy we all groan about when we find out we have to deal with because you are a full of sh*t know it all. i am reminded of cliff claven on cheers. it’s a little known fact that…

    those who wish to sweep under the rug the fact that many tens of thousands of otherwise law abiding drivers have been b*tch slapped by the “science” behind the breathalyzers must be heartened that they have douchebag mccrackin to carry water for them and divert the discussion from proved faulty methodology to the plight of those truly wronged by those truly drunk.

    here it is S L O W for you you retard…no one here is excusing drunken driving. the topic is the publishing, use, and reliance upon faulty test results.

    it is not illegal to drink and drive…it is illegal to drive drunk. for the state to have the right to imprison someone their basis must be sound.

    everybody, please stop feeding the troll. note the sheer number of posts he issues…

  15. Phil Mckrackin says:

    Quote from James Baxter’s article “How many thousands of people had their lives turned upside down, suffered major financial losses, lost jobs, and had their reputations destroyed by a system that used junk science to push its agenda?”

    To answer this question NONE. The causation of the financial loses, lost jobs, destroyed reputations and having thier lives turned upside down falls squarely upon the shoulders of those who consumed alcohol then made the conscious decision to operate a motor vehicle in clear violation of the law. Why do all of you sheep think that there is no link to Dr Simspon’s findings that were alledgedly published in a scientific journal? Another interesting point is that the NMA claims that the breathalyzer is inaccurate (which any scientific intrument can be if used improperly). In order for the above quote to be able to be answered with an affirmative answer the scientific instrument would have to be capable of rendering false readings that indicated that there was a B.A.C. when no Alcohol was present in the blood.

  16. Phil Mckrackin says:

    I know what it is I have just never saw it referred to as GERD. The Disease itself will have absolutely no effect upon the breathalyzer. Often what happens is people who have been arrested for DUI rationalize why they were not DUI and that the breathalyzer was wrong because….. This appears to be one of those times with the extent of my knowledge of the breathalyzer that disease will have no adverse effects on the reading of the breathalyzer. Some of the medications taken for that disease on the otherhand may have an adverse effect the breathalyzer’s reading. If you are arrested for DUI you will be asked “are you taking any medications” so that a list of medications currently in your bloodstream at the time of testing can document thier presence, both for prosecution and defesne use.

  17. Patico says:

    GERD stands for GastroEsophageal Reflux Disease. It is a chronic condition that results from esophagus deterioration from stomach acid eruption over time.

  18. Patico says:

    Dunleedon mentioned in one of his comments that GERD can mess up with the breathalyzer. Could anyone in this blog please give me references were I can learn more about it. Thanks




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