The Intoxilyzer 8000 (on the right) is used in San Diego DUI cases and in various cities/states. The intoxilyzer 8000 uses the principle of infrared light absorption that attempts to estimate the alcohol in a gas sample. The amount of infrared energy lost due to absorption by ethyl alcohol molecules is proportionate to the DUI suspect's breath alcohol concentration (BAC). “The instrument provides an operator with traditional one button operation along with prompts and information via a 2 line LED display making the instrument easy to use all the while minimizing error.”
The Alco-Sensor IV (on the left) is a hand-held portable Breathalyzer; it is a small simple and easy to use device where you can instantly get the BAC level. The ASIV automatically samples deep lung breath and displays the result in a three digit readout. The ASIV also provides step by step instructions to the operator and has over 40,000 users. Placing your mouth on the Breathalyzer turns ON the device and the release of it turns it OFF.
The Intoxilyzer 5000 (on the right) is a computer based on very old technology. It also works on the theory of infrared absorption. The machine has a light bulb positioned at one end of a breath capture cylinder. There are filter wheels at the other end of the cylinder and on the other side of these filter wheels is a light receiver.
While the manufactures of the intoxilyzer 8000 say it is “minimizing error” critics believe the opposite, they refer to it as “unreliable” and “inaccurate”. “If any of the necessary calibrations are incorrect, none of the readings of the machine will be accurate. Breathalyzers require regular maintenance and calibration, which sometimes does not happen.” Citizens are worried they might be charged unfairly with a product that can easily be manipulated with Dr. Pepper and Wonder Bread.