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Breathalyzers Back In D.C. Starting Friday

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Metropolitan police officers will once again be armed with breathalyzers for testing suspected drunk drivers after hiatus in the program due to faulty equipment. 
Justin McGregor: http://www.flickr.com/photos/skippytpe/3366481352/
Metropolitan police officers will once again be armed with breathalyzers for testing suspected drunk drivers after hiatus in the program due to faulty equipment. 

D.C. will resume its breathalyzer screening program this week after suspending the program nearly two and half years ago because of problems with the machines.

The police department shut down the breathalyzer program in 2010 when it was discovered the blood-alcohol level testing machines weren't calibrated correctly. The discovery called into question hundreds of drunk driving convictions. 

Dozens of convicted motorists challenged their convictions and the city ended up paying $20,000 to several drivers who sued the city. In place of the breathalyzers, police have been using field sobriety and urine tests to go after impaired drivers.

The breathalzyer program is set to resume Friday, with new equipment and new legislation passed last month by the D.C. Council that promises tougher penalties for drunk driving convictions.

The city is "well positioned to combat impaired driving" with the "new statute and the new state of the art equipment," D.C. Attorney General Irvin Nathan said in a statement.

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