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Michigan’s Mobile Breath Testing Van Busts Drunk Drivers

by ptbarone on August 24, 2010

Michigan DataMaster

Michigan’s breath alcohol testing Class IIIB DataMaster Operator’s Training Manual sets forth all of the requirements necessary for a mobile breath testing van in Michigan.  The mobile van was first introduced in 2001.

In 2003 drunk driving saturation patrols using the BAT mobile van were conducted in Michigan which netted at least 100 drunk drivers.  According to the NHTSA Report on Michigan BAT Mobile, one in every 25 Michigan drivers has one or more alcohol convictions on his or her driving record.

The mobile unit itself is a 20 foot Diamond Bus customized for the purpose of transporting and supporting a mobile breath testing (DataMaster) van in Michigan.   As such, it contains a fax machine, cellular phone and other equipment along with a work station for processing Michigan drivers arrested for OWI (drunk driving).

The Class IIIB DataMaster Operator’s Training Manual contains some interesting information, such as a procedure to test the mobile DataMaster with a .04, .08 and .20 simulator solution.  DataMasters that are kept at police stations are only tested using a .08 solution.

Diagnostic checks are also performed on a very regular basis, and include things like a check of the flow detector, pump, filters, quartz standard and calibration.  Again, at best, a stationary DataMaster in Michigan is only tested every 120 days.

Another very interesting and regular check performed on the mobile DataMaster  is an acetone check.  To do this acetone is added to the simulator solution and the DataMaster checked to see if it will produce an “interference detected” error code.

Radio frequency interference is also checked for the mobile DataMaster.  This is done as follows:  The check is performed with a handheld radio.  The radio is held within five feet, and the push to talk button is activated.  The radio is then moved toward the DataMaster until the machine “aborts” the test.  The DataMaster then prints the error message “radio interference” on the evidence ticket.

None of this information is included in the class II DataMaster operator’s training manual and it is interesting to see how these tests are actually performed in the field.  Obviously the tests that are used for acetone and radio frequency interference are substantially different from what would happen in the “real world” during an actual DataMaster breath test of a Michigan driver arrested for OWI.

If you were arrested in Michigan for OWI (drunk driving); then you should discuss the many possible defenses with your Michigan drunk driving lawyer.  It may be that you have a defense to the breath test worth pursuing.  It could mean the difference between conviction and acquittal.

Get a FREE confidential CASE EVALUATION on your Michigan OWI/OWVI/DUI by calling (248) 306-9159, or filling out this consultation request form. Call now, there’s no obligation!


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