Motorists accused of driving drunk soon may be fitted with a fancy new piece of jewelry – a high-tech ankle bracelet to see if they’re tipping the bottle. The electronic device is part of an alcohol-detection system gaining popularity across the nation that can sample a person’s perspiration as often as every 30 minutes to gauge consumption, reports the Daily Herald of Arlington Heights, Ill. At least 4,000 people are wearing the gadget today, and another 2,800 are waiting to be outfitted in the 38 states where SCRAM, Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring, is in place.
Some critics argue it’s another example of Big Brother encroaching on personal liberties, but supporters contend it’s the best tool yet for combating alcohol-related crimes and clogged jails and prisons. The technology was first used in 2003 in Michigan. Officials can use the bracelets to monitor people convicted of alcohol-related offenses who are willing to abstain from alcohol as a condition of a lesser sentence. It also may be used as a condition of bond.