State police launch roadside drug testing in five counties
Starting on Wednesday, Michigan State Police will begin a pilot program in five counties allowing troopers to administer a roadside oral drug test during traffic stops
The counties included in the one-year pilot program are Berrien, Delta, Kent, St. Clair and Washtenaw.
Under the program, troopers will take oral fluid samples from drivers with a mouth swab, which detects drugs in the driver's system immediately after use. Troopers will be able to test the sample within a matter of minutes and in the process will conduct a 12-step drug evaluation.
Refusal to submit to an oral fluid analysis when troopers demand is a civil infraction.
The program is being launched in an effort to combat drugged driving and the steady increase of fatal crashes involving drug-impaired drivers, according to Michigan State Police.
"In 2016, there were 236 drug-involved traffic fatalities, which is an increase of 32 percent from 179 drug-involved traffic fatalities in 2015," according to Michigan State Police.
State Police said the pilot counties were chosen based on the number of impaired driving crashes, impaired drivers arrested and trained drug recognition experts in the county.
“Motorists under the influence of drugs pose a risk to themselves and others on the road,” said Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the MSP on their website. “With drugged driving on the rise, law enforcement officers need an effective tool to assist in making these determinations during a traffic stop.”