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Pennsylvania State Police Suspend Use Of Breathalyzers

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file photo (credit: Joe Raedle)

file photo (credit: Joe Raedle)

Gregg_Cherrie--NEW Cherri Gregg
Cherri Gregg is the community affairs reporter for KYW Newsr...
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By Cherri Gregg

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - The Pennsylvania State Police have temporarily suspended the use of breathalyzer in DUI stops. This means the number of DUI arrests along major highways, like I-95 and the Schuylkill Expressway could increase.

The decision is based on a ruling out of Dauphin County, where a judge threw out a DUI charge after raising concerns about the reliability of breathalyzer tests using the Intoxilyzer 5000, which is widely used throughout the Commonwealth.

Pennsylvania state police spokesman Adam Reed says although there’s a chance the ruling will be overturned, it prompted police to only use blood tests for now:

“Anytime we arrest someone for DUI now instead of taking them to get a breath sample, we’re now taking a blood sample and taking that off to the lab to be analyzed,” Reed says what this means for DUI processing will vary based on county.

“It will vary depending on the location of the nearest hospital, but some counties have a phlebotomist on staff on the busiest nights of the week — Thursday, Friday and Saturday,” says Reed.

George Geisler of the Pennsylvania DUI Association says wider use of blood tests will mean safer roads.

“We are going to be detecting more people who under the influence of drugs other than alcohol,” says Geisler. “This translates to mean we’re going to be arresting more people for DUI.”

Philadelphia police will continue to use breathalyzers.

Pennsylvania’s implied consent law requires that you take a breathalyzer, blood or urine test if you are arrested for DUI; if you refuse, your license could be suspended for one year.

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