To curb fatalities by drug-impaired drivers, the Michigan State Police will start testing motorists with an oral fluid roadside test next week, officials announced Thursday.

The Preliminary Oral Fluid Analysis pilot program, which will be launched in St. Clair, Washtenaw, Berrien, Delta and Kent counties, begins on Nov. 8 and will run for one year.

State police officials say the rising number of impaired drivers, crashes and arrests in those particular counties was the reason why they were chosen to participate.

“Motorists under the influence of drugs pose a risk to themselves and others on the road,” said State Police Director Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue. “With drugged driving on the rise, law enforcement officers need an effective tool to assist in making these determinations during a traffic stop.”

The program was established by Michigan Public Acts 242 and 243 in 2016 and will be conducted right on the roadside. Each situation will be overseen, state police officials said, by a trained “drug recognition expert” in each county who are police officers who have “received highly specified training that allows them to identify drivers impaired by drugs.”

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