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Blood-Alcohol “Sniffing” Anklets To Monitor Repeat DUI Offenders



MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Tennessee’s recent DUI law took effect on Jan. 1, and courts across Tennessee are in mid-use of the new high-tech alcohol monitoring systems meant to track the driving habits of drunk driving offenders currently facing charges.

The DUI monitoring systems — known as SCRAMx but dubbed “alcohol-sniffing ankle bracelets” — observe offenders 24 hours a day during the pretrial period. The expected effect is that high-DUI-risk drivers will not become repeat offenders during use.

SCRAMx (Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor ) is an alcohol testing system that features a blood-alcohol reading ankle bracelet that is supposed to be worn 24 hours a day. The DUI ankle bracelet actually samples the DUI offender’s perspiration every 30 minutes in order to test blood-alcohol levels.

These ankle bracelets have been in limited use in Tennessee since 2005, but have only recently been tested by prosecutors in Williamson County. The prosecutors tested an early generation of the DUI ankle bracelet technology but even those were approved for integration into programs designed to monitor drunk drivers after convictions.

Since the new legislation took effect, officials have seen an increase in the use of the ankle bracelets to monitor repeat Anderson County, Tennessee DUI offenders during the pre-trial period with the goal of reducing the risk to the community while DUI offenders await judgment on their case.

Over recent weeks, the alcohol-sniffing ankle bracelets have become available to court officials in Memphis and surrounding Tennessee counties. Memphis judges began meeting last week to learn about the science behind the DUI ankle bracelets.