Michigan Launches Pilot Roadside Drug Testing, Is California Next?

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In early November, five Michigan counties are launching a new pilot that allows law enforcement the ability to obtain saliva samples from drivers under suspicion they could be impaired by drugs. This roadside drug testing program uses an oral fluid test instrument known as The Alere DDS2 to detect marijuana, opioids, methamphetamines, and other drugs above a certain threshold.

It’s very similar to breathalyzer procedures. Before police can pull you over, they must have a valid reason – like swerving between lanes or other odd driving behavior.

“(Officers) are not going to be randomly pulling people over – they have to have a valid reason,” says MSP First Lt. Jim Flegel. “They’re going to be looking for things like weaving in their lane, driving too fast, driving too slow, not using your turn signals — indicators that would indicate that somebody’s driving while impaired.”

Although this program has not yet been permitted in the State of California, the importance of testing impaired drivers is already picking up popularity in San Diego, CA. Police are now using mouth-swab tests to nab drivers under the influence of drugs, using Dräger DrugTest 5000 machines donated by the San Diego Police Foundation. For now, the machines will only be enforced at certain DUI check points. There is uncertainty when a pilot program like the one in Michigan will be passed in California, but, there is certainly progress being made to ensure safer roads in the state starting with San Diego.


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Sources: Michiganradio.org and the LA Times

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