LANSING, Mich., Sept. 9 (UPI) -- Pending legislation would make Michigan the first U.S. state to do roadside saliva tests for illegal drug use just as police do breath tests for alcohol.
"I know this has been a problem for law enforcement for years," state Rep. Rick Jones, a Republican sponsor of one of the bills in the package, told The Detroit News.
"What do you do when you've got a guy you know is on drugs but you can't test him?" said Jones, a former sheriff.
The tests are easy to administer, reliable and inexpensive, Jones said, and could largely replace current procedures, which frequently require search warrants and hospital-administered blood tests.
The test kit that lawmakers in Michigan are considering can detect drug use in six categories -- including marijuana, cocaine and methamphetamine, also known as "crystal meth," a psychoactive stimulant.
The state corrections department uses portable drug kits to test parolees but the law would make Michigan the first state to let highway patrols and other police controlling traffic use them, Jones told the newspaper.
Roadside drug testing is used in Europe and Australia.
Under Michigan law, the presence of any level of any illegal drugs is grounds for a drugged-driving charge.
Published: Sept. 9, 2010 at 7:34 PM
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