New Technology to Fight Pennsylvania DUI

The efforts of law enforcement agencies to identify and apprehend motorists suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol in Pennsylvania have been effective, though tools to detect impairment from drugs have lagged. The Lycoming County DUI Task Force hopes that a new piece of equipment changes that.

A pupillometer is being deployed that allows an officer to test a PA DUI suspect for impairment from prescription, over the counter and illicit drugs. The hand-held device is meant to establish probable cause to continue a DUI investigation. It scans the pupils of a suspect and compares the readings to a database with over 3 million images of people known to have drugs in their system. The officer must have special training to operate the equipment and receive Drug Recognition Expert certification.

The pupillometer is said to be 97% accurate, though the efficiency drops for those over 50 years of age, under 16 and for women who are pregnant.

The device and an accompanying computer cost about $11,300. A highway safety grant from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation paid for Lycoming County

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