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Indiana man invents computerized DUI test

Indiana man invents DUI testing machine

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — It’s about the size of a small screen, and yet, it could have a major impact on how field sobriety tests are conducted in the United States.

Peter Zahart of Winamac calls it the “Night Rider.”

“It does the Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test for police officers,” said Zahart.

The Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test is performed on a person suspected of DUI by having that suspect use their eyes to follow the officer’s index finger, but those tests can be prone to error.

“All the tests are preloaded into the device, and instead of using an officer’s finger, we’re going to use a light,” said Zahart.

Zahart came up with the idea while working as a park ranger after he pulled over someone suspected of driving drunk.

“There may be an unintentional error while doing the test,” Zahart said. “Maybe you don’t hold your finger for four seconds, maybe you move it faster than two seconds, maybe you move it two seconds. This removes all error and any bias associated with it.”

Zahart said this test produces results based on science, not race or socioeconomic status.

“This will bring powerful, admissible evidence that can’t be cheated for faked,” Zahart said. “Hopefully, we can get more convictions and lower the death rate in this country.”

Zahart has a patent for the Night Rider and is working with the Center for Innovation De-Risking and Enterprise Acceleration at Notre Dame on marketing it.

“In 1958, the Indiana State Police, in partnership with Indiana University, came up with the intoxilyzer, which is still used now. As a Hoosier, I would really like to see Indiana on the forefront of new technology.”

Ten police agencies around the country have agreed to use the Night Rider. Zahart is trying to convince the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the Indiana State Police to use it as well.