Question: What is the official breath test machine that is used in Michigan and what are some of its flaws?
Answer: Michigan uses a machine called the DMT Datamaster. It is a breath test that utilizes infrared spectroscopy, which means the result reported is based upon a calculation derived from light absorption, alcohol molecules, and partition ratios. What that simply means is that it is an estimate of possible alcohol. Flaws are inherent with any equation that includes variables. This machine has software that replaces the variables with a predetermined constant.
Therefore, its results are not specific to each person, but an estimate—a guess. Other flaws may be present by either the machine itself, which could be detected from our trained review of weekly accuracy logs, maintenance, and the evidence ticket itself. Or, often, the flaw is based upon the medical health or physical condition of the subject or client. It may be economical and even pragmatic to have a one-size-fits-all, but in this case, one size does not fit all subjects arrested.