Laser Detection of Alcohol Vapors Coming To a Police Department Near You

Posted by Richard Lawson | Jun 16, 2014 | 0 Comments

According to the June 2014 issue of Popular Science, the police will soon have alcohol vapor detectors based on laser technology.

Right now, the police use a wand that can detect the vapor of alcoholic beverages in and around vehicle.  However, these alcohol wands are limited to detecting the presence of those vapors when a police officer places the instrument in the suspect's vehicle.

If true, and as reported, these new laser-based detectors will be able to sense the presence of alcohol vapors within a moving car.  Like laser and radar based speed detection devises, the police will presumably be able to pull over vehicles after their machine senses the alcohol vapors in an automobile.

Of course, this creates an entirely new invasion of our privacy by the big hand of government, along with a myriad of other issues.  One issue is that the sober designated driver may still be pulled over because of alcohol vapors coming from his passengers.  Another obvious issue is similar to what happens to alleged speeders.  A police officer may pull over the wrong vehicle, a vehicle that the officer did not in fact tag with his laser.

I am against the wholesale invasion of our privacy.  I remember years ago being stopped at my first roadside checkpoint.  I had not consumed any alcohol and was tired and wanted to go home.  My trip was delayed 15 minutes so the police could check drivers to see if they were impaired.  I was appalled at he wholesale invasion of my rights and even more stunned how little the situation seemed to upset people.  Yes, drunk driving is a problem, but pulling over every motorist to get at a few impaired drivers is not the answer.

Using laser detectors to decide which cars to investigate will result in people choosing not to be a designated driver because of the increased attention caused thereby.  Is that a solution?  I don't think so.

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Richard Lawson

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