Beginning Nov. 8, five Michigan counties will participate in a one-year oral fluid roadside drug testing pilot program.
The Michigan State Police announced that the counties will include Berrien, Delta, Kent, St. Clair, and Washtenaw. The counties are spread across the state.
The program 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.
Legislation to establish the pilot program was passed in September 2016, but establishing the program was on hold while attempting to determine which counties would participate.
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.
“Motorists under the influence of drugs pose a risk to themselves and others on the road,” Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the Michigan State Police, said in a news release. “With drugged driving on the rise, law enforcement officers need an effective tool to assist in making these determinations during a traffic stop.”
The pilot counties were chosen based on several criteria, including the number of impaired driving crashes, impaired drivers arrested, and trained drug recognition experts in the county.
According to the Michigan State Police, drug recognition experts are police officers who have received highly specified training that allows them to identify drivers impaired by drugs.
Although the pilot program is being organized and managed by the Michigan State Police, drug recognition experts employed by county, township and municipal police agencies also will be involved.
The saliva will be obtained by a mouth swab.
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