There are other options besides ignition interlock devices as punishments. Oftentimes, a SCRAM bracelet is placed on a DUI offender’s body so it can monitor any and all consumption of alcohol. This device is usually used with repeated or habitual offenders. The SCRAM is placed around the DUI offender’s ankle and it remains on 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Like an ignition interlock system, a SCRAM bracelet uses an electrochemical fuel cell to detect alcohol. Inside the device, a pump takes samples of an individual’s perspiration. The fuel cell reacts with alcohol in the sample and an alcohol concentration is calculated, which gives an estimation of BAC. Also similar to an ignition interlock system, there are ways to make sure the DUI offender does not tamper with the equipment. It has an IR sensor that measures a reflection off the DUI offender’s leg. There are records of how much reflection when the device is fitted, so it is easy to determine if the offender attempts to place something between the device and his leg.
Most judges won’t require a DUI offender to wear a SCRAM unless he or she has had many probation violations, including positive tests for alcohol on an ignition interlock system. The SCRAM is good in the sense that it will make sure the individual does not drive ANY car, not just their own car which has an ignition interlock device installed on it. SCRAM bracelets are often used as an alternative to jail time.
However, there are problems with the SCRAM bracelet. Unlike an ignition interlock system, the SCRAM is only an appropriate punishment for repeat or habitual offenders. This device will not work for a first time offender and therefore would not prevent repeated behavior the way the ignition interlock device can do.
Another issue with the SCRAM is that a user CAN get behind the wheel under the influence. Since SCRAM data is only sent to the DUI offender’s probation officer once a day, it would be impossible to stop a SCRAM user at the time he is planning to drive under the influence. The ignition interlock system, on the other hand, will not allow the vehicle to start once alcohol is detected, thus preventing the driver from getting behind the wheel with alcohol in his system.
SCRAM bracelets cost about $450 a month, which is extremely expensive. Ignition interlock systems cost less than $70 dollars a month, so it is a much more feasible option for many DUI offenders.
Most DUI offenders are put off by the size of the SCRAM bracelet. It is not comfortable and it is obviously seen in warmer weather on their person. An ignition interlock device is only in an offender’s car, so any embarrassment or humiliation can be spared.