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Alcohol and Other Drugs in Wisconsin Drivers: The Laboratory Perspective

NCJ Number
Marquette Law Review Volume: 69 Issue: 2 Dated: (Winter 1986) Pages: 235-250
P H Field
Date Published
16 pages
This article explains the features of Wisconsin drunk-driving laws (drug and alcohol), describes Wisconsin State agencies that test for intoxicated driving, reviews the pharmacology of alcohol and other drugs, and notes the effects of these drugs on driver performance.
Wisconsin law permits one or more tests of an arrested driver's breath, blood, or urine to determine if the driver has violated laws against intoxicated driving. The law is comprehensive in covering all drugs known to impair driving as well as 'intoxicants' such as nondrug hydrocarbons. Another notable feature of the law is the statutory definition of the meaning of breath and urine alcohol concentrations. A recent change in the law also defines statutory violations in terms of breath alcohol concentrations. State agencies that test for alcohol and other drugs include the State Department of Transportation, which is responsible for the State's breath testing programs; the Department of Health and Social Services, which approves and monitors laboratories that run tests; and the University of Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene, which tests the great majority of drivers' blood and urine samples. After reviewing drug pharmacology and drug effects on driver performance, the article concludes that Wisconsin statutes and administrative regulations provide a scientifically sound and well-coordinated system for ensuring the fair and accurate detection of impaired driving. 75 footnotes.