The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of passive alcohol sensors for youth alcohol enforcement conducted as part of normal or typical police operations. Three municipal police departments of 100 or more sworn officers in three states with zero tolerance legislation used each of three commercially-available passive alcohol sensors for two month periods in duty assignments likely to encounter youth and DWI enforcement opportunities. Applications of the passive sensors were logged, and after each test period each officer provided written evaluations and participated in debriefing discussions. Data for several years preceding the test period and during the test period for underage liquor law violations and underage DWI arrests and convictions were also examined. Devices were used more than 1,100 times in normal traffic stops, one sobriety checkpoint, youth encounters, and domestic disturbances. Overall judgments were positive by the officers and their departments, but there were differences between situations and devices. Officers were concerned about officer safety when using the devices for initial screening in normal traffic stops. Comments and suggestions specific to each device were cataloged. Few of the uses of the passive sensors led to alcohol-related arrests, and the underage liquor law and DWI data did not show changes over the test period compared to preceding periods. The discussion noted different requirements for portable alcohol sensors for low-BAC (youth, zero tolerance) and DWI (adult, .08% or .10%) enforcement and for tests without and with active subject participation.


  • English

Media Info

  • Features: Appendices; Figures; References; Tables;
  • Pagination: 84 p.

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00725633
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Report/Paper Numbers: HS-808 381
  • Contract Numbers: DTNH22-93-C-05022
  • Files: HSL, NTL, TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Sep 23 1996 12:00AM