We Have a New Test in Town

DataMaster DWI Test

After years of litigation surrounding the Intoxilyzer 5000, the State of Minnesota has implemented the use of a new breath testing machine, the DataMaster DMT-G.  The new breath testing device was purchased in hopes of effectively ending the use of the Intoxilyzer 5000 and the trouble surrounding the machine.

The change of guard began after continuous litigation regarding how the Intoxilyzer 5000 operated, (commonly called the source code), which resulted in roughly 4,000 drunken-driving and implied-consent cases currently being placed on hold pending a ruling from the Minnesota Supreme Court.

The litigation began to come to the forefront in March 2011, when a Judge issued an order that the source code contained errors, but that it did not cause inaccuracies in test results. Defense attorneys appealed, and the two sides are awaiting a ruling on the case by the Minnesota Supreme Court.  A preserved advantage of the DataMaster is the open source code.

The Intoxilyzer was open to litigation based upon the source code.  Because of litigation issues, age of the machine, and the release of the source code of the Intoxilyzer 5000, the State decided it was time to update their breath testing machine. In 2010, The Bureau of Criminal Apprehension (BCA) spent approximately $1.7 million for 280 of the new DataMaster DMT-G devices.

The DataMaster has another large difference between the Intoxilyzer 5000.  The DataMaster is designed to take two readings of a driver’s blood-alcohol content at once, using two different methods. Although this sounds good, last month the BCA told law enforcement agencies it had shut off one of the testing methods.  The BCA requested that the using fuel-cell technology be suspended until inconsistencies in the cells durability are corrected.

The DataMaster is already in place and in use for most of the southern portion of Minnesota.  It is off to a troublesome start based upon the errors that are being found and officers using the machine have received only limited training.

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