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Roadside Drug-Testing Program Launches In Michigan


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The year-long pilot program comes in response to a dramatic rise in the number of fatal car accidents involving drugs.

 

A new roadside drug-testing program is being piloted in five select Michigan counties, according to CBS Detroit. Michigan State Police will now pull over people who they suspect are “drugged drivers,” administering a mouth-swab test that can detect a wide variety of controlled substances.

The year-long pilot program comes as a response to a dramatic uptick in the state’s number of fatal car accidents involving drugs.

While the roadside drug tests may be new to Michigan, they certainly aren’t new to other police forces across the U.S. More than a dozen states currently use the roadside test machines, the Los Angeles Times reported. They’re also quickly gaining popularity due to the rise of marijuana legalization in other states. Each device costs roughly $6,000 and is “about the size of a mini bookshelf stereo system.” Preliminary test results only take six to eight minutes to arrive, the Times noted.

Still, not every state has yet established legal limits around the amount of drugs in a driver’s system, which can further complicate matters for authorities. Whereas “alcohol cases are more black and white—a .08% blood-alcohol level or higher is illegal,” the article observed that even specially trained police officers have to rely on subjectivity and personal judgment with roadside drug testing.

At this point, a positive test may not even guarantee an arrest or legal action. In San Diego, for example, drivers will likely be sent to “a police phlebotomist for a blood test to determine precise drug levels.”

Regardless, the rise of roadside drug testing makes it clear that many experts believe there shouldn’t be a line between drunk and drugged driving. And as officials continue to embrace the potential of roadside tests, and lawmakers further define the legal limits of drugs, the more blurred that line will become. 

 

https://www.thefix.com/roadside-drug-testing-program-launches-michigan

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Thanks Bob

I had asked what the penalties would be. 

I would take the ticket...

I would then fight the ticket.... and probably loose but if I am not mistaken there's rules in our country about being coerced into something against my will.

Most important... PASS THE FIELD SOBRIETY TEST.

Then they have no grounds to ask for further information.

Record yourself both video and audio and save it to the Web to protect the integrity of the data...

It will come down to your word over theirs... video and audio can often times help clarify those details.

 

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Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017

LANSING, Mich. – Gov. Rick Snyder today announced the appointments to the Impaired Driving Safety Commission.

The Impaired Driving Safety Commission was created to research the level of ingested medical marihuana/THC that may affect safe driving. The commission is housed within the Department of State Police and will exist until it submits a final report to the Governor, Senate Majority Leader, and Speaker of the House or until March 21, 2019.

“This group of individuals have extensive backgrounds that will be an incredible asset to this commission and I look forward to reviewing their report,” Snyder said.

Margeaux Bruner of Northville is a medical marihuana business consultant and activist. She holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Western Michigan University and a master’s degree in industrial operations from Lawrence Technological University. She will represent qualified and registered patients under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act.

Nicholas Fillinger of Perry is a toxicology discipline technical leader for the Michigan State Police Forensic Science Division. He previously served as a laboratory technician in the microbiology department of Sparrow Hospital. He is a member of the Society of Forensic Toxicologists, the Midwest Association for Toxicology and Therapeutic Drug Monitoring, and the American Society of Crime Laboratory Directors. Fillinger holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Olivet College. He will serve as a forensic toxicologist.

Carol Flannagan of Ann Arbor, is a research associate professor for the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute and has more than 20 years of experience analyzing traffic-safety data. She holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from St. Lawrence University, a master’s degree in applied statistics and both a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in mathematical and experimental psychology from the University of Michigan. She will serve as a professor from a public research university in this state.

Norbert Kaminski of Okemos is a professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, the interim director of the Center for Research on Ingredient Safety, and the director of the Institute for Integrative Toxicology at Michigan State University. He has conducted research on cannabinoids for more than 25 years. Kaminski holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Loyola University of Chicago, and both a master’s degree in toxicology and a Ph.D. in toxicology and physiology from North Carolina State University. He will serve as a professor from a public research university in this state.

William Morrone of Bay City is the medical director at Recovery Pathways, LLC, a village physician for Sebewaing Primary Care, and the deputy chief medical examiner for the Bay County Department of Public Health. He has extensive experience studying substance abuse and is board certified by the American Board of Addiction Medicine, the American College of Osteopathic Family Practitioners, and the American Academy of Pain Management. Morrone holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Wisconsin, a master’s degree in toxicology and pharmacology from the University of Missouri, a master’s degree in public health from Walden University, and a doctorate degree in osteopathic medicine from Michigan State University. He will serve as a physician licensed under article 15 of the public health code.

Michigan State Police Director Col. Kriste Etue will serve as chair.

Members serve terms expiring March 21, 2019.

 

http://www.michigan.gov/snyder/0,4668,7-277-57577-452807--,00.html

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My first question to the officer would be to find out if he has a valid fishing license.

There are actually some ailments that would make it impossible to pass the field sobriety test. For instance, my back problems make it impossible to stand on one foot.

The very best thing is to try not to give them a reason to pull you over in the first place. Keep up with the flow of traffic. Not too fast not too slow.

Don't stand out. They look for things out of the ordinary. Be the grey man. If you think they're checking you out pull into a store or restaurant and go inside. They won't wait unless they really want to get you.

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It would be good to have Zap's thoughts on this.

I have seen lots of posts on here and other forums about just take the $200 ticket and be on your way.   If you read the entire process as to how this works it would seem that the only place you are on your way to is jail.  

Think about how this all happens.   A patrol car has pulled you over for whatever reason and the officer is convinced that you are impaired to the point that he has called for backup in the form of a certified Drug Recognition Expert.  This person has determined that in their expert opinion you are impaired and then asks you to take the swab test.   Since this person has already determined that you are impaired what makes anyone think that they can just take a $200 ticket and be on their way.

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2 hours ago, semicaregiver said:

 Since this person has already determined that you are impaired what makes anyone think that they can just take a $200 ticket and be on their way.

Without the evidence of the swab what would they charge you with? 

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10 hours ago, Wild Bill said:

Without the evidence of the swab what would they charge you with? 

 

The Drug Recognition Officers are not just for this program, they are distributed across the state and as I understand it they are called in much way a drug dog might be called in because the patrol officer believes there is a crime.  For this program they are being used as a "control" to see if the machine does better than a "trained" human.  My understanding is that they will only ask you to take the swab test "after" they have determined that you are impaired.   Given that they are regularly used across the state to determine impairment and, given a positive  "expert judgement", you are arrested.  

Now in this situation they have decided in their "expert judgement" that you are impaired, they asked you to take a swab test and you refused. You can liken it to refusing a field breath analyser test.   The officer does not just say, ok, here is your refusal ticket, have a nice day.    They give you a ticket for refusing and then take you to jail and get a warrant for a blood test. 

Consider the reporters words in the OP's link...."Only specially trained police officers, also known as Drug Recognition Experts (DREs), will handle the tests during the pilot program, the story said. In addition to the mouth swab, DREs will also look for other telltale signs of impairment, such as bloodshot eyes, unusual blood pressure, and the inability to pass a field sobriety test. Also, any driver who refuses to submit to a roadside drug test can be ticketed or taken directly into police custody."

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Wild Bill,   here is a more recent article that Jamie posted with quotes from Michael K.   

Test targets drug-impaired driving in Michigan

  • By Mary Beth Spalding South Bend Tribune
  •  
    • Nov 27, 2017 Updated 2 hrs ago
    •  
 
 
Test targets drug-impaired driving in Michigan
 
  • Robert Franklin, South Bend Tribune

Michigan State Trooper Rob Lindsay holds up a new roadside drug testing device Nov. 8 outside the Law Enforcement Complex in Niles. Tribune Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN

 
 
image.png.cc0acc90926a4418cfb6d39c14b27e24.png
 
  • Robert Franklin, South Bend Tribune

Michigan State Trooper Rob Lindsay, who is based at the Niles post, shows a test cartridge to be used in a portable unit that can test a driver’s saliva for the presence of drugs. Tribune Photo/ROBERT FRANKLIN

 
 
image.png.27aa2e611fbd3151de26211264fa91ca.png
 
  • Robert Franklin, South Bend Tribune
  •  

Lindsay shows a portable device that can test a driver’s saliva in about five minutes for the presence of certain drugs. Berrien is one of five Michigan counties taking part in a pilot program to test the device.

It’s not random. It won’t be used at sobriety checkpoints. And the state of Michigan doesn’t want your DNA from it.

Michigan State Police Special First Lt. Jim Flegel says those are the quick answers to concerns he’s heard about a roadside saliva drug test pilot program now underway in five counties, including Berrien.

“All of those are false,” said Flegel.

He said the program is simply about combating an increase in fatal crashes caused by drug-impaired drivers.

But attorney Michael Komorn, of Farmington Hills, Mich., president of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association, sees other potential concerns, including the accuracy of the test and “experimental nature” of the program.

He’s afraid law-abiding citizens with normal therapeutic levels of prescription drugs in their systems who are not impaired to drive might be arrested.

And he thinks that could result in a court challenge.

“Until then, we got a bunch of Michigan citizens in these five counties that are going to be guinea pigs to this process,” Komorn said.

But police say their focus is on stopping drug-impaired driving, so only impaired drivers have anything to worry about.

The program

“Unfortunately over the last several years we’ve seen a very large increase of drugged-driving fatal crashes in the state of Michigan,” Flegel said.

In 2016, Michigan saw 236 fatal crashes, a 32 percent rise over 2015, when there were 179.

“There are different things going on in Michigan,” Flegel said. “One is the opioid epidemic. Another is the number of medical marijuana cardholders that could potentially be driving while impaired on marijuana.”

Michigan began permitting the use of medical marijuana under a 2008 law, and in 2016, the state passed laws to create a new commercial distribution system for medical marijuana from cultivation to sales.

Also last year, a law established the "Preliminary Oral Fluid Analysis" pilot program, which is being managed by Michigan State Police with a budget of $150,000.

Michigan’s program is meant to assess the accuracy and reliability of a portable saliva testing device called the Alere DDS2, which can let an officer know in about five minutes whether a driver they suspect is impaired might have drugs in his or her system. It gives a positive or negative reading on the presence of certain drugs, including marijuana and opiates.

That information can help officers understand the driver’s state and reinforce other findings of impairment to establish probable cause for arrest, Flegel said.

Five counties — Berrien, Delta, Kent, St. Clair and Washtenaw — were chosen for the pilot program, based on various criteria, including the number of trained drug recognition experts in each county. Only DREs are allowed to administer the roadside test.

Drug recognition experts are officers who have gone through a two-week, intensive course to recognize drug impairment. They also use a 12-step analysis on suspects to assess possible drug impairment.

Berrien County has seven DREs, four at the state police post in Niles, two with the sheriff’s department and one with the Lincoln Township Police Department. They are seven of the 27 DREs in the five pilot counties.

Berrien County Undersheriff Chuck Heit confirmed the sheriff's department has two deputies who have received DRE training assigned to the pilot program. He directed questions and comments about the program to the state police.

Flegel said an officer must have a reason to suspect impairment before stopping a driver and possibly using the test.

Officers are “going to be making valid traffic stops on a person they suspect of impairment and then they will run them through their tests. If there’s impairment that’s found on drugs, the only thing different they’re going to do is ask them to submit to an oral fluid swab for the drug test,” the officer said.

Police will collect data on the accuracy of the test and number of arrests, and report back to the legislature after a year.

If the program works well, Flegel hopes it can be rolled out to more counties and more officers.

Other states or police agencies, such as in California, Colorado and Massachusetts, have piloted oral fluid drug-testing programs, “but it’s not widespread throughout all the states yet,” Flegel said.

The test

Trooper Robert Lindsay of the Michigan State Police post in Niles completed drug recognition expert training in 2016.

Almost every night while on patrol he suspects drivers of impairment. Sometimes they’re just texting, he said. But many times they are drunk, and increasingly he finds they might be affected by drugs.

Lindsay sees the saliva testing as “another tool” he can use to confirm driver impairment.

Ordinarily, if he pulls a motorist over and suspects impairment, he will conduct standardized field sobriety tests and administer a portable breath test. As a drug recognition expert, he’ll assess whether or not he thinks the person might be suffering from a medical condition, like low blood sugar. If he suspects drugs are a factor, he can take the person to the hospital for a blood test and in a controlled environment administer the 12-step drug analysis.

Now he can use the saliva test at the traffic stop before taking the driver to the lab.

 

Lindsay will place a swab in the driver’s mouth, and the end of the stick turns blue when it’s collected enough saliva for testing.

He inserts the swab into the testing unit and in about five minutes gets a positive or negative reading for the presence of drugs from six different categories. The test does not indicate the level of a potential drug in a driver's saliva. It simply gives a positive or negative reading based on drug concentration cutoff levels set by the manufacturer. The cutoff level, in nanograms per milliliter, is the point under which the test will be negative and at or above which it will be positive.

The driver will still undergo a blood draw for testing as part of the 12-step drug analysis and to double-check the accuracy of the roadside test.

A driver refusing to allow an oral swab can be cited with an infraction and fined $100.

Lindsay will “properly dispose” of the swab he uses for the test.

Lindsay said he’ll seek permission to take a second sample swab, too, which will be sent to a lab in Kalamazoo for testing to help confirm the accuracy of the field test. The second swab is voluntary.

Lindsay said he’s heard people who are medical marijuana patients are worried about being randomly stopped and tested, or being subject to a sobriety checkpoint.

But Michigan doesn’t allow checkpoints, and an officer is looking for drivers who seem impaired, Lindsay said. Just because he might smell a lingering pot odor doesn’t mean a driver would be detained if the person doesn’t show impairment, he said.

Questions

Komorn, the attorney, said in his experience the odor of marijuana can lead an officer to further investigate, which now might include using the saliva test.

That could be problematic for a driver who is legally taking prescription medication and is not impaired, he said.

“Once they detect that it’s in your system, then what,” said Komorn. “Are they just going to let you go or are they going to further investigate?”

Komorn said the saliva test has a high error rate, and he called drug recognition expert assessments "subjective," concerns that have been voiced by some other Michigan attorneys as well.

Komorn said he’s not sure what the roadside test enables officers to do that they can’t do now.

“If there’s a justification to arrest (a driver) for probable cause based on the observations and the driving, then they can do that, that’s what the law is right now,” he said. “I don’t know that this test adds anything to it.”

Michigan has a zero tolerance law for THC in a driver’s bloodstream, except medical marijuana patients who are driving may have one nanogram in their bloodstream and must be proved impaired, said Komorn. A “catchall” amendment in the impaired driving statute prohibits driving under the influence of “any substance” that impairs ability to operate a vehicle, he said.

“Nobody should be compelled to take this test until we’ve got some confirmation that it is an accurate test,” Komorn said. “That’s basic fundamental liberty and freedom, that government shouldn’t be able to subject individuals to tests.”

 

 

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44 minutes ago, semicaregiver said:

 

My understanding is that they will only ask you to take the swab test "after" they have determined that you are impaired.   Given that they are regularly used across the state to determine impairment and, given a positive  "expert judgement", you are arrested.  

Now in this situation they have decided in their "expert judgement" that you are impaired, they asked you to take a swab test and you refused. You can liken it to refusing a field breath analyser test.   The officer does not just say, ok, here is your refusal ticket, have a nice day.    They give you a ticket for refusing and then take you to jail and get a warrant for a blood test. 

let me ask a different question.

if they determine you are impaired and arrest you, then whats the point of taking the saliva test ? after they arrest you they can get a blood draw anyway. if you take the saliva test they will get a blood draw to verify the saliva test anyway.

i think what they are trying to do is insert this test so that when they find an impaired driver (or a person who smells like weed), they can get a positive hit on their saliva test, before they do the blood draw. so that in court, the saliva and blood draw match up and the judges start accepting the results of these saliva tests.

 

basically, they are trying to skip the NHTSA testing of these devices for accuracy and usefulness and just jump into using it as a reliable piece of testing in court.

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T-Pain, pretty much right on.  They are trying to do an equipment validation using the public as test subjects.  The $200 fine thing is just a bluff to get you to participate.   

In my posts I was just trying to get people to see beyond the question of whether or not one should refuse the test and then contest the $200 ticket.   The real issue is that if you are on the side of the road with a DRE officer who is asking for a swab test, you have bigger problems than the $200 ticket.

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3 hours ago, semicaregiver said:

T-Pain, pretty much right on.  They are trying to do an equipment validation using the public as test subjects.  The $200 fine thing is just a bluff to get you to participate.   

In my posts I was just trying to get people to see beyond the question of whether or not one should refuse the test and then contest the $200 ticket.   The real issue is that if you are on the side of the road with a DRE officer who is asking for a swab test, you have bigger problems than the $200 ticket.

Oh and i agree they are not just coming for Cannabis users they also want the people  that take pill's that can impair some people 

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