Problems with the Intoxilyzer 5000 Used in Texas

One of the best ways to understand problems with the Intoxilyzer 5000 is to read the Breath Test Operator’s Manual published on the DPS’s crime lab website. The Texas Breath Alcohol Testing Program Operator Manual for the Intoxilyzer 5000 operates as a textbook for breath alcohol testing operator initial certification training.

The breath test operator's manual also acts as a reference source as long as the operator is engaged in driving while intoxicated enforcement and remains in the Texas Breath Alcohol Testing Program. 

In order for a laboratory analysis to be considered properly completed, the Breath Test Record must not have any invalid messages printed on the Test Record.


Error Messages on the Intoxilyzer 5000

The most obvious way to tell that a subject’s breath test has a serious problem involves the presence of an error message registered by the Intoxilyzer 5000. The breath test operator will sometimes call these error messages an “invalid message,” an “exception message” or an “operational messages.

The messages are printed on the test record by the machine and they also appear on the display. The most common error messages are listed below: 

  • AMBIENT FAILED - Indicates that a contaminant was detected in an AIR BLANK step. Attempt to conduct another test. 

INVALID TEST

PROM# GXXXX.XX

CHECK AMBIENT CONDITIONS

  • DEFICIENT SAMPLE - The subject did not provide an adequate sample within three minutes. Attempt to conduct another test. 

INVALID TEST

PROM# GXXXX.XX

DEFICIENT SAMPLE

  • REFUSED - The operator entered “R” and pressed ENTER while /R was present. 

INVALID TEST

PROM# GXXXX.XX

SUBJECT REFUSED TO CONTINUE

  • IMPROPER SAMPLE - The subject tried to introduce a breath sample out of sequence. Attempt to conduct another test. 

INVALID TEST

PROM# GXXXX.XX

SAMPLE INTRODUCED

AT IMPROPER TIME.

  • INTERFERENT - The presence of an interfering substance was detected. DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CONDUCT ANOTHER BREATH TEST ON THIS SUBJECT. It is suggested that a blood test be obtained. 

INVALID TEST

PROM# GXXXX.XX

INTERFERENT

DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CONDUCT

ANOTHER BREATH TEST ON THIS

SUBJECT. IT IS SUGGESTED THAT

A BLOOD TEST BE OBTAINED.

  • INVALID SAMPLE - The subject did not deliver an acceptable sample. Attempt to conduct another test. 

INVALID TEST

PROM# GXXXX.XX

NO .020 GRAMS/210 LITERS

SUBJECT TEST AGREEMENT

  • NO .02 AGREEMENT - The subject analysis results were not within 0.020 g/210 liters. Attempt to conduct another test. 

INVALID TEST

PROM# GXXXX.XX

NO .020 GRAMS/210 LITERS

SUBJECT TEST AGREEMENT

  • OUT OF TOLERANCE - The reference analysis result was not within tolerance of the predicted value. Check the temperature, seal, and operation of the reference sample device (simulator). Attempt to conduct another test. If the condition persists contact the Technical Supervisor. 

INVALID TEST

PROM# GXXXX.XX

*REFERENCE CHECK OUT OF

TOLERANCE

  • INHITIBED RFI - The presence of a radio signal was detected in the environment. Attempt to conduct another test. 

INVALID TEST

PROM# GXXXX.XX

INHIBITED - RFI

  • INVALID TEST- The START TEST switch was pressed out of sequence. Attempt to conduct another test. 

INVALID TEST

PROM# GXXXX.XX

INVALID TEST

For the test immediately following an invalid test, except for REFUSED and INTERFERENT tests, the instrument will allow the operator to reuse the previously entered data. This option will be available for up to 20 minutes after the invalid test. When the operator begins the next test, the first query will be

When the operator begins the next test, the first query will be type of test, followed by SUB LAST NAME as usual; however, if the last name matches the previous last name exactly, the next query will be REUSE DATA? Y/N.

If Y for yes is entered, the next query will be REVIEW DATA? Y/N. The operator may review the previously entered data by entering Y; however, if the data entry from the previous invalid test appears correct, the operator may enter N for no and the sampling sequence will begin.


Additional Resources

Texas Intoxilyzer 5000 BAT Operator Manual - Visit the website of the Department of Public Safety to find information from the crime laboratory about the Breath Alcohol Testing Operator Manual. Reading the manual is one of the best  ways to understand the most basic problems with the alcohol testing program in Texas.


This article was last updated on Friday, April 29, 2016.

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