In an effort to crack down on drivers suspected of DUI, DuPage County authorities announced Tuesday a new tool -- quicker blood draws -- to help crack down on drunken motorists.
State's Attorney Robert B. Berlin unveiled a new protocol aimed at speeding up the time blood is drawn from a motorist suspected of driving under the influence.
"The average rate of elimination of alcohol in a person is .015 -- .020 grams per milliliters per hour," Berlin said. "Consequently, in any DUI investigation, time is of the essence in obtaining evidence of a subject's blood alcohol content or BAC."
Currently, motorists pulled over on suspicion of DUI may refuse a Breathalyzer test to determine their blood alcohol content. In such cases, the officer has the option of taking the DUI motorist to a hospital for a blood draw -- a process that can take hours.
The new initiative gives the officer the option of contacting a private company that will, within one hour, provide a state licensed and trained phlebotomist to draw the motorist's blood at the local police department. Phlebotomists will be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
"By reducing the time between arrests and blood draws we are able to obtain a much more accurate BAC of the offender at the time of arrest," Berlin said. "This will allow for a stronger prosecution of suspected DUI drivers. In addition, it will also free up our patrol officers from spending hours in a hospital with the offender and allow them to get back on the streets faster."
Any costs associated with the blood draw will be the responsibility of the offender, Berlin said.
"The use of a private phlebotomist will prove to be an invaluable tool in gathering evidence in a DUI investigation in a timely and efficient manner," he said, "and will aid in the successful prosecution of DUI offenders."