Getting Under the Skin of Drunk Drivers
Electronic monitoring devices that are worn on the ankle will soon be given to chronic drunk driving violators in Erie and Niagara counties in New York as part of a new DWI Court.
Violators who participate in the court’s program must wear the ankle bracelet called SCRAM (Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring Systems), stop consuming alcohol, and meet with counselors and probation officers.
The devices are able to gauge how much alcohol a person has consumed by assessing the skin, and law officials say they can record tampering attempts and consumption of alcohol.
Anyone apprehended for drinking will be brought in for questioning, and violations could mean the offender is removed from the program and sent back to prison.
“If we can stop them from drinking, then half of the drinking-and-driving issue is taken away,” said Jeffrey D. Smith, principal court analyst for the 8th Judicial District.
A grant of $320,000 in federal funds will pay for 60 monitoring devices as well as the operation of the new court.
The maker of the devices, Alcohol Monitoring Systems will also collect a daily $4 fee from the DWI Court, and this fee will eventually be paid by offenders.
Judges are expected to make the devices mandatory in mid-June.
Abstracted by the National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center (NLECTC) from the Buffalo News (05/24/07); P. A1; Watson, Stephen T.