Michigan's pilot roadside drug testing program still on hold

By Mark Schremmer, Land Line staff writer | Monday, February 13, 2017

A one-year pilot program in Michigan that will allow specifically trained officers to give roadside saliva tests to drivers suspected of being under the influence of such drugs as marijuana, cocaine and heroin remains on hold.

The legislation took effect in Michigan in September 2016, but Shanon Banner, a spokeswoman for the Michigan State Police, said it still hadn’t been determined in which five counties the pilot program will take place. Previously, the Michigan State Police had said it planned to have the program in place by sometime in the fall of 2016.

“There’s no update on this pilot at this time,” Banner wrote in an email on Monday, Feb. 13. “We’re still looking to finalize the five counties where the pilot will take place, evaluate and choose a testing instrument, and develop policies, procedures and training.”

Banner didn’t provide a reason for the delay.

According to the Michigan State Police, the one-year pilot program aims to determine the accuracy and reliability of oral fluid test kits/instruments in order to give trained Drug Recognition Experts another tool to combat the dangers of impaired driving. The saliva drug tests will be used if a driver is suspected of driving impaired and not on a random basis, the Michigan State Police has said.

The law was inspired by a 2013 crash where a truck driver ran a red light and struck a vehicle, resulting in the deaths of two people. The truck driver, Harley Davidson Durocher, was sentenced to 15 years in prison after blood tests showed that marijuana was in his system.

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