Washington’s New Breath Test Device: Draeger Alcotest 9510

Washington State law enforcement has used the “Datamaster” breath-test machine for over 20 years and is now ready to make a change.  The Datamaster manufacturer is closing its doors and will no longer produce the breath-test machine or its parts for repair.  For this reason, Washington State looked for its next breath-test machine used to test drivers arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence.  The great citizens of our state will now be subjected to the “Draeger Alcotest 9510.”

On November 21, 2014, the Washington State Patrol (WSP) Impaired Driving Section began deploying the new Draeger Alcotest 9510 instruments in Northwest Washington in Whatcom, Island, San Juan, Skagit, and Snohomish counties. Soon thereafter, the deployment continued in Southeast Washington in Kittitas, Yakima, Benton, Franklin, Walla Walla, Columbia, Garfield, and Asotin counties.  Approximately 83 Draeger Alcotest machines have been put into service in Washington and will continue to replace the Datamaster.

Draeger Alcotest 9510

Like the Datamaster, the Draeger Alcotest 9510 measures alcohol in the lungs by analyzing exhaled breath.  However, there are some differences between the two breath-test machines.  Some of the notable differences are:

  • The DataMaster uses Infrared Spectrometry (I/R) to quantify alcohol. The Draeger uses I/R and in addition tests each breath sample using the “electrochemical” (E/C) process.
  • The DataMaster’s I/R system measures a frequency of infrared light associated with the Carbon/Hydrogen bond of the ethyl alcohol molecule. The Draeger’s I/R system measures the Carbon/Oxygen bond of the ethyl alcohol molecule. This design is intended to avoid mis-identifying acetone as alcohol, which is possible when I/R measures the Carbon/Hydrogen bond of the ethyl alcohol molecule.
  • DataMaster produces tests two breath samples and produces two readings, the Draeger tests two breath samples TWICE, thus producing four test results.
  • The breath test document of the DataMaster contained only the test readings and some other data. The Draeger is capable of producing a printout with graphs of the “breath profile,” which would show how long an individual blew, and also the “uncertainty” calculation for the readings. Several DUI courts are considering whether to require that “uncertainty” of readings be determined and reported.
  • The DUI police officer operating the DataMaster must type in all date identifying the subject, date of incident, etc. The Draeger will have a card swipe device that will read the data from a driver’s license and also the operator’s permit card.

With the implementation of a new breath-test machine comes new issues as to its reliability and accuracy.  The attorneys at David O Defense are prepared to help those accused of driving under the influence (DUI) to get the best results possible.  Call us for a free consultation at 206-459-6392.