A new type of ankle bracelet that detects alcohol consumption in the wearer’s perspiration will soon be used to curb repeat drunken driving offenders in Honolulu.
The anklet manufactured by Littleton, Colo.-based SCRAM Systems will be used as a condition of bail or sentence for those repeat offenders, said Honolulu Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Chasid Sapolu.
“We’re all very familiar with the high rate of traffic fatalities in our state,” Sapolu said. “This new monitoring device will provide another tool to help combat drunk driving and keep our communities safe.”
This year so far, there have been more than 50 traffic fatalities in Hawaii. About 30 percent of them involve drunken drivers, Sapolu said.
In the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2017, prosecuting attorneys in the state filed 6,413 cases against intoxicated drivers. That same year, prosecutors were handling 7,014 cases involving drivers charged with operating a vehicle under the influence of an intoxicant from the previous fiscal year.
The device, known as SCRAM Continuous Alcohol Monitoring or SCRAM CAM, automatically tests a wearer’s perspiration every 30 minutes for alcohol consumption and sends the information to a monitors in SCRAM’s headquarters. If alcohol is detected, the courts are notified immediately.
Judges, defense attorneys, prosecutors and court personnel received training this week on how to use the anklets.
In 2017, state lawmakers approved the use of the monitoring devices. Most of the cost will be borne by the defendants, who will be charged about $135 for each week they are ordered to wear them.
Moses Leasiolagi, a SCRAM Systems regional sales manager, said 99 percent of those wearing the devices remain sober. Honolulu has used the devices on a limited basis in recent years. But the company plans to expand their use once court personnel are trained.
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