The Michigan State Police is working on plans to establish a pilot program for roadside, saliva-based drug testing, according to local news sources.
A new state law instructs the state police to pick five counties where it will run a one-year pilot program for saliva-based testing to check drivers of all vehicles for drugs like marijuana, heroin and cocaine.
“We expect the counties to be finalized this summer with a pilot to begin sometime later in the year,” MSP spokeswoman Shanon Banner told Mlive.
The five counties will be determined based on criteria such as the number of impaired driving crashes; the number of impaired drivers arrested; and the number of Drug Recognition Experts (DREs) trained in the county, she said.
“The five-county pilot program will be used to help determine accuracy and reliability of the tests,” Gov. Rick Snyder said after he signed the bill in June.
The total number of traffic crashes involving drugs, 2,215 last year, has reached a decade-high in Michigan, according to police statistics.
DRE officers have received “highly specified training” to allow them to identify drivers with drug impairment. The saliva analysis will only be administered by a DRE and will be given along with the drug recognition 12-step evaluation currently used.
It’s unclear whether the new roadside testing will withstand potential court challenges, considering that marijuana can stay in a person’s system for up to a month and not necessarily indicate impairment at the time of testing.
Michigan Dept. of Transportation responses to FAQs about the pilot can be found here:
Meanwhile, as the Canadian government moves toward marijuana legalization, CTA and OTA are working towards analyzing the impact to the trucking industry’s drug testing policies and well as its legal responsibilities under the legislative changes.