How the Typical SCRAM
Case Causes Science and Law to Collide
Aside from the apparent reliability problems
discussed above, the very processes involved
in the monitoring and confirmation of a drinking
episode by the manufacturer requires a significant
delay between the "confirmation" of a drinking
episode and the actual notification of this
"confirmation" to the offender. This systematic
problem with SCRAM is exacerbated by the
physiological delay in the expression of the alcohol
through the skin. Scientific literature has shown
DWI JOURNAL: Law & Science - April 2006 - Page 4
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that this delay might be as much as 120 minutes2,
while the manufacturer claims that this delay
might be as much as 180 minutes3.
A third source of delay may be termed
"judicial" delay, which is the delay that occurs between
the notification of a Confirmed Event by the
manufacturer and the subsequent notice to the offender
by the monitoring agency. These delays
create an almost certain violation of the offender's
constitutional rights because they effectively preclude
the offender from any opportunity to seek
and obtain potentially exculpatory evidence in the
form of an independent test. Independent testing
is particularly crucial where, as here, recent scientific
research suggests that the data and processes
used to "confirm" drinking are respectively both
unreliable and subjective4.
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