Ohio bill would allow paramedics to give BAC tests

| 7/22/2009

Paramedics would be allowed to draw the blood of drivers suspected of being under the influence, if an Ohio state lawmaker gets his way.

Sen. Tim Grendell, R-Chesterland, has offered a bill that is intended to prevent repeat offenders from delaying a blood-alcohol test to get a lower reading and avoid prosecution.

The Senate approved the bill. It would not mandate that emergency workers draw the blood of anyone suspected of driving under the influence, but it would make blood samples admissible in court if they were taken. SB58 now awaits consideration in the House Criminal Justice Committee.

Ohio law now limits to doctors, nurses, qualified technicians, chemists and phlebotomists the administering of blood tests to people suspected of using alcohol or drugs while driving. Drivers can refuse to take a breath test at the scene and instead be transported to a medical facility to get a blood test.

Anyone who refuses a sobriety test faces loss of driving privileges for a period of at least 90 days.w

Supporters say the rule change would remove as a delay tactic the refusal of a breath test at the scene.

Critics say there are too many questions unanswered about how the rule change would affect emergency workers. Among the concerns listed are whether they would have to testify in court and whether the process would interfere with patient care.

The bill would make it a crime to collect blood, urine, tissue or other bodily fluids from someone without their consent.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Ohio in 2009, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor

Editor’s Note: Please share your thoughts with us about the legislation included in this story. Comments may be sent to statelegislativedesk@ooida.com.