Driving under the influence is a constant concern for Texas law enforcement officials, and especially problematic are drivers who are charged with DUIs time and time again. Nothing seems to deter these habitual offenders from getting behind the wheel while drunk, prompting officials to seek new and innovative ways to keep them from causing serious accidents, injuries and fatalities on the road.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, drunk driving claims five lives every day in Texas, and every 19 minutes someone is hurt or killed in an alcohol related crash. In fact, Texas leads the nation in annual alcohol related vehicle deaths. What can be done about the high number of DUI incidents in our state?
One answer being discussed at this year’s Lifesavers conference in Tennessee is an ankle bracelet that monitor’s the wearer’s body alcohol content. Called “SCRAM”, the device is manufactured by Alcohol Monitoring Systems (AMS) based in Littleton, Colorado. The name SCRAM stands for Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor and can be configured to test the wearer’s alcohol consumption around the clock. The manufacturer claims this makes the device a more effective alternative to random testing methods or jail time.
Monitoring DUI offenders is a serious burden for many law enforcement officials. If a person commits an alcohol related offense, many times a condition of their sentencing or probation is that they stop drinking alcohol. Of course, it is very difficult to enforce a condition like this, which means that the courts are often unsuccessful in keeping offenders from drinking when they aren’t supposed to. A device worn by an offender and set to continuously report alcohol consumption to a central database is one solution that may catch on with officials looking for more effective methods of enforcing the law.
The SCRAM system is basically comprised of three parts: an ankle bracelet worn by the offender, a modem plugged into a telephone line in their home or office, and an online database system that allows officials to monitor data collected by the device. The ankle bracelet measures the alcohol content of the very small amount of perspiration generated throughout the day by a human body, and at periodic intervals this data is sent to the home or office modem via wireless RF (radio-frequency) waves. The data on the modem is uploaded to AMS computer systems, and made available via a secure internet connection round-the-clock.
Could this device be an improvement on the ignition interlock devices used today to keep intoxicated drivers from getting behind the wheel? Possibly, especially if the cost – estimated to be about $84 a week – can be paid for by the offender as a part of the condition of their sentencing or parole.
To speak with one of our attorneys about your Texas truck or auto accident case, please contact the Houston law offices of VB Attorneys for a free review and consultation.
VB Attorneys P.L.L.C
1001 Texas Avenue, Suite 1020
Houston, TX 77002