Could A Skin Patch Help Prevent DUIs?

Would the number of DUIs in Los Angeles decrease if drivers and/or police officers had an easier, more reliable way to measure blood alcohol content? los-angeles-DUI-sweat-test

Researchers at the University of San Diego have developed a wearable, flexible sensor that can accurately measure a person’s BAC from sweat. The device, a temporary tattoo, actually induces sweat and then detects the alcohol levels electrochemically. The device communicates the information to a mobile device—laptop, tablet or phone—via Bluetooth.

Nano engineering professor Joseph Wang and electrical engineering professor Patrick Mercier led the team that developed the sensor. “This technology provides an accurate, convenient and quick way to monitor alcohol consumption to help prevent people from driving while intoxicated,” said Wang. He envisions interfacing the device with an ignition interlock device, or people using it to monitor their own alcohol levels so they could refrain from driving if they were legally under the influence.

The patch device would have several advantages over breathalyzer or blood tests. It’s less invasive than a blood test—no need to get pricked—and is more accurate than a breathalyzer, which can give a false reading if someone has recently taken a drink. Sweat does give a more accurate reading of the actual BAC, but until now the devices that measure it have not been portable.

The researchers say that their alcohol sensor could measure BAC in sweat within 15 minutes, even if a person isn’t moving or exercising.

Whether police officers measure your BAC with a blood test, breathalyzer or sweat test, they could arrest you for DUI if your level reads 0.08 or higher. Under California’s vehicle code a level of 0.15 counts as a DUI with an aggravating factor; that could result in additional fines and additional jail time.

How should you respond to your recent and disarming charges? Call a qualified Los Angeles DUI defense lawyer (and ex-prosecutor) with nearly two decades of relevant legal experience.

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