Ask Lindsey Lohan. The actress was ordered to wear one by Judge Marsha Revel back in 2010 for her drug and alcohol related arrests in 2007. The device is common in driving under the influence cases to ensure that DUI defendants abstain from alcohol while the case is pending or as a condition of probation. While it hardly fits into Lohan’s wardrobe as a fashion statement, the device measures her blood alcohol content based on the perspiration on her skin.
The SCRAM device was patented by Alcohol Monitoring Systems, Inc. and is an acronym for Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitor. The device is worn on the ankle and records transdermal alcohol presence though the wearer’s perspiration. The transdermal measurement of alcohol is converted to blood alcohol content. The data that the device collects is then sent to Alcohol Monitoring Systems.
Think you can beat the device by placing you ankle in water? Think again. Attorney Mark Geragos reported to MTV News that the SCRAM anklet contains “an internal mechanism that if you do tamper with it, it’ll notify the remote location immediately.” Geragos continued, “You’ve got to take some precautions when you shower.” If you don’t, the device will notify Alcohol Monitoring Systems that the wearer is attempting to cheat the device.
As if showering with one leg out of the shower weren’t tough enough, Lohan probably had to stay away perfumes and hairsprays as well. Such alcohol based cosmetics could cause a false reading for the device.
Additionally, factors other than alcohol in perspiration cannot be taken into account by the device. Thickness of skin, amount of sweating, and cutaneous blood flow all must accounted for when accurately measuring the transdermal alcohol in perspiration. In other words, the device will measure the BAC of individuals differently depending on these factors which are unique to each individual. Thus, abstinence alone is what should be monitored, not the actual blood alcohol content of the wearer.