Kansas bill would require drug testing in ‘serious’ wrecks

| 2/7/2008

A bill in the Kansas House would mandate that any people – drivers and passengers – involved in “serious” traffic wrecks be required to submit to drug testing.

State law now allows law enforcement officers to order testing if there is “reasonable suspicion” that a person is under the influence. The House Judiciary Committee recently considered a bill that would require truckers and other drivers, as well as their passengers, to undergo mandatory drug testing when they are in certain types of wrecks.

The presumption of a drug violation would no longer be needed.

Supporters say changes are needed to make it easier to test people involved in wrecks. The bill would allow law enforcement to collect evidence for potential criminal prosecutions, they say.

Opponents say it is unconstitutional to force someone to submit to a blood or urine test if there is no probable cause to suspect them of a crime. Others say the bill doesn’t do enough to define “serious injury.” They don’t want drug tests ordered for simple fender benders.

The committee has taken no action on the bill – HB2617. Instead, they said more work is needed on the bill.

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– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor