Senate Bill 0434 was introduced by Senator Tom Casperson (R, Dist. 38), Senator Rick Jones (R, Dist. 24), and Senator Mike Nofs (R, Dist. 19). The Bill outlines a pilot program to use preliminary drug testing at roadside stops. This would be accomplished through the use of a tool that would test the saliva of an individual in order to determine whether that individual was impaired due to drugs, opiates, etc. After the states of California and Colorado made cannabis use legal, they began to use this type of testing during roadside stops in order to ensure people were not operating motor vehicles while impaired. In 2014 there were more than 1,712 motor vehicle accidents that were solely drug related. This led to a large number of deaths and injuries. The basis of introducing this bill is to increase public safety.
Michigan currently has a PBT test for alcohol that is used in roadside stops in order to detect impairment. The cut-off level for this is 0.08. This test is administered by breathing into a device that can detect alcohol in a person’s system. The state of Michigan does not currently have an equivalent policy for driving under the influence of drugs. There are three saliva tests that could be used if this policy is passed and implemented. All tests have above a 99% accuracy rate. This policy could be a great benefit to public safety.
This issue is not without its controversy. Supporters of Senate Bill 0434 argue that it will increase public safety on Michigan’s roads. It is also argued that if Michigan decides to legalize cannabis use, this bill would be in place to enforce violations. Those opposed to the bill have different viewpoints. Rep. Rosemary Robinson (D, Dist. 14) argues that this policy is a violation of the Fourth Amendment and that the roadside collection of bodily fluid is unlawful. The reasoning behind this being that saliva is DNA and a personal fluid and privacy is breached when it is collected. Rep. Jeff Irwin (D, Dist. 53) is concerned about the definition of the word “impairment.” It may be argued that a person who has built a tolerance for a pain reliever, for example, needs more to feel effects. A certain level of pain reliever in his system does not necessarily mean the person is impaired. This is where the discrepancy between what the cut off levels for the tests should be and what the cut off deems as “impaired” for any particular substance. The Michigan Medical Marijuana Association is also opposed to this Bill because members feel as though it will victimize more medical marijuana users who would be targeted for being ill. Further concern exists about the trustworthiness of law enforcement officers and the specific Drug Recognition Officers that will need to be trained in administering roadside tests. The public will need to trust the officers to follow proper procedure and protocol with testing.
This Bill is going through the amendment process has a large amount of Republican support. If it passes, a pilot program would use a particular product that tests saliva for drugs and opiates. This pilot would take place in three different counties where the need is greatest. Data would be collected for these counties and results to show if the program worked. If the results showed the program to be beneficial, it would be implemented state wide.
"ROADWAY INJURY EXPERIENCE FOR PERSONS WHO HAD BEEN." Chart. Office of Highway and Safety Planning (2014). Web. 11 May 2016. http://publications.michigantrafficcrashfacts.org/2014/Alcohol+1.pdf
Michigan (State). Legislature. Assembly Law enforcement; investigations; pilot program to use preliminary drug testing at roadside stop; create.... (SB 0434). 2015-2016 Reg. Sess. (March 22, 2016). Web. 11 May 2016. http://www.legislature.mi.gov/%28S%28b3lfjjrxxqj1sv0am44h2dvc%29%29/mileg.aspx?page=GetObject&objectname=2015-SB-0434
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