For some drivers, being caught driving while intoxicated is enough to scare them straight. For others, it seems as though no amount of punishment, fines, rehabilitation programs, or jail time can keep them from drinking and driving. These habitual offenders – those who rack up one DUI after another – are a great concern to authorities, who are always looking for ways to keep known drunk drivers off the road.
A new technology being shown this week at the Nashville, TN Lifesavers conference could do just that. The device, called “SCRAM” (which stands for Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor) is a temperature sensitive bracelet that takes periodic readings of the alcohol in a person’s system. The maker of the product, Alcohol Monitoring Systems, is touting their device as a way for cities with overburdened court systems and overcrowded jails to keep an eye on DUI offenders while they wait for their court date.
According to the makers of SCRAM, the majority of device users are drunk drivers. It costs about $84 per week for the device, the cost of which is usually passed on to the offender. Another surprising use of the technology is parents who want to keep their teenagers alcohol-free during big events like prom.
The device worn on the ankle, and takes samples of ‘insensible perspiration’ (this is perspiration that evaporates before it is felt as moisture) on the skin every 30 minutes. The data is stored on the device, which sends the information to a SCRAM modem at pre-determined times (at least once a day). Data is sent from the bracelet to the modem – which is installed in a telephone LAN line at the user’s home or office – using a wireless radio-frequency (RF) signal, and all data is date and time stamped for easy reporting and analysis. To prevent the wearer from tampering with the device, it comes with five types of anti-tamper sensors.
Data stored on the user’s modem is transmitted by telephone lines to a master computer, running an application called “SCRAMNET”. SCRAMNET is a web-based application managed by AMS, the company that produces the bracelets, and it allows data uploaded from user bracelets to be viewed and analyzed around-the-clock using a web browser. This means that law enforcement officials – or concerned parents – can view up-to-date information about events like drinking, tamper activities, and equipment malfunction.
Devices like this are another tool that can be used by law enforcement officials to keep habitual offenders from committing additional alcohol-related crimes – and if it keeps drunk drivers off the road, it could potentially save lives.
DULANEY, LAUER & THOMAS, LLP
98 Alexandria Pike, Suite 11
Warrenton, VA 20186
Toll Free: 888.907.2631
209 N. West Street
Culpeper, VA 22701
Toll Free: 800.741.1012