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Michigan Cops Improve Civilian Safety with FC10 Breath Alcohol Tester

By: Nicola Grun


The Michigan State Police (MSP) is a U.S. state law enforcement agency founded in 1917. MSP’s Alcohol Enforcement Unit administers the state’s breath alcohol testing program and has been conducting preliminary breath alcohol tests since 1983. Michigan has a BAC (blood alcohol content) level of .08 BAC for 21 years of age and older. The state also has a limit of .02 BAC for drivers under age 21 and additional penalties for drivers with a BAC of .17 or higher. In 2012 thirty one percent of fatal traffic accidents in Michigan involved alcohol and/or drugs.

Since 2004 MSP has contracted exclusively with Lifeloc Technologies for their preliminary breath alcohol testers (PBTs). To date over 5,000 Lifeloc FC10 PBTs have been deployed across the state. In the same period of time alcohol related road deaths have decreased almost 50 percent from close to 500 in 2006, to approximately 300 in 2011. MSP switched from Intoximeters* to Lifeloc Technologies after conducting an extensive comparative review of similar instruments’ performance, price and ease of use. Comparing what’s important, an MSP spokesperson said, "We like the Lifeloc because it is easy to use, priced fairly and the customer service is outstanding."

FC20 in use during roadside testing

"Lifeloc excels at incorporating small ideas to make a big impact."

According to the MSP Alcohol Enforcement Unit, "Lifeloc excels at incorporating small ideas to make a big impact." Examples include the FC10 unit’s audible and visual breath flow and alcohol content indicators which aid Troopers by signaling important situations such as insufficient breath, reverse breath flow, and uncooperative subjects. Other examples of small details that save time and money include the addition of powerful magnets into the FC10’s protective rubber grip. This prevents the instrument from sliding off the hood or roof of patrol cars, even at speeds over 60 miles per hour. Lifeloc takes Officer hygiene seriously too. The Lifeloc EasyTab™ mouthpiece directs suspect breath flow away from the operator and prevents Troopers from having to contact with the "wet" end of the mouthpiece.

"Customer Service is Outstanding"

Michigan reports that Lifeloc customer service is exemplary. Lifeloc employees don’t hide behind voice mail and the company has "live" customer support during regular working hours. Lifeloc repair policy guarantees service and repair in less than five business days or customers don’t pay. Instrument life is outstanding. Fuel cells seldom need replacement and instruments seem to last forever.

"We like Lifeloc because it is easy to use…"

Says Kelly Silverman, Director of Lifeloc Product Management, "Lifeloc prides itself on leading the industry with instruments that are easy to learn and operate. We spend a lot of time working with customers on ergonomics and operational improvements in our products." To illustrate her point Kelly sites the example, "Long ago we rejected the idea of using three digit alphanumeric codes to signal important instrument status in favor of human readable user friendly prompts that are easy to understand and that unambiguously prompt users on the proper course of action."

Lifeloc’s latest innovation for law enforcement is the introduction of the EASYCAL® Automatic Calibration and Calibration Verification Station. Michigan Law Enforcement is required to perform monthly calibrations and calibration checks on their fleet of portable breath testers. Calibrations have always been a manual and time consuming procedure. Deployment of the new EASYCAL® station across Michigan will automate the instrument calibration process and eliminate manual record keeping. The EASYCAL® also saves on calibration gas.

The Final Word

Ease of Use. Innovation. Customer Service. My spokesman for the Michigan Alcohol Enforcement Unit concluded my interview by stating, "Lifeloc continues to improve the FC10…the progressive company strives to be the best by acting on the needs of its customers and excels at taking initiative to be ahead in their field."

Please view a video of the FC10 in use. Scroll to the bottom of the webpage and select the Videos tab.

* Intoximeters™ is a registered trade-mark of Intoximeters, Inc. and is not associated in any way with Lifeloc Technologies.

Michigan State Police use FC10 Breathalyzer