Breath Tests for Determining Alcohol in the Blood

Science  20 Oct 1972:
Vol. 178, Issue 4058, pp. 264-272
DOI: 10.1126/science.178.4058.264


The "drunk driver" represents one social problem that medicine and the exact sciences have been asked to help solve. Once the decision to employ the criminal justice system for that purpose was made, they were asked to provide both a more precise measure of intoxication, in order that criminal sanctions might be brought into play, and means of determining that measure in individual defendants. The use of breath tests in the courtroom to determine alcohol in the blood, along with evidence of related scientific issues, thus serves well to illustrate the mechanisms by which these scientific contributions may enter into the social scheme.