The dirty little secret with Virginias DWI testing program

The Department of Forensic Science (DFS) has always told Virginia's judges, prosecutors, police officers and defense attorneys that its Intoxilyzer 5000 (68) machines are well maintained, accurate and reliable. DFS placed them into service over three years 1995-1997. DFS has now decided to replace these ten to twelve year old machines.

Why? Just look what DFS says privately. "These instruments are dated and the manufacturer is no longer maintaining parts or able to fully support them since the current instruments demonstrate two further generations of technology advancement." "To replace dated, unstable and unreliable Breath Alcohol instrumentation used by police officers throughout the Commonwealth to certify whether a driver is or is not impaired." "Funding of this request will allow the agency to replace instruments that are 9-10 years old and for which replacement parts are not available." "Over the past several years, new technology in the field of breath testing has come to the forefront.

At the same time, the Intoxilyzer 5000 is being phased out of production by the manufacturer as some of its electronics components become more difficult to replace." "We need to obtain and implement new equipment because some Intoxilyzer units are already 10 (almost 11) years old. The manufacturer is not longer making all the same parts. The motors the instrument currently uses no longer lasts very long (due to changes in the manufacturing). To use any new replacement parts that are not identical to the original have to undergo evaluations, testing for approval before we can put them in the field." "I-5000 Dislikes.

Limited ability to troubleshoot from Richmond.Accepts lot #'s of solutions that are expired or have incorrect # of digits.Not able to tell when solution was changed unless recorded in logbook." "These instruments are outdated and the manufacturer is no longer maintaining parts and not capable of fully supporting them since current instruments demonstrate two further generations of technological advancement.

" "The CMI representative was in yesterday and these are some of the problems that were raised. The IR source that is currently being sold is having problems with sensitivity and transitioning between motors.The motors are another issue, the current motor will be discontinued as of January 1, 2006. The "replacement motors" are in short supply.CMI doesn't want to continue to support the 5000 line since they have 2 generations of instruments produced since that time.

" Copyright (c) 2008 Robert Keefer.

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