This is ridiculous and would violate the constitution even more, but hey... it's for the good of the people!
Proposed bill aims to direct young drivers away from drugs
As proposed by state Rep. Roger Eddy, House Bill 262 states that an applicant for an instruction permit who is under the age of 18 must undergo testing for controlled substances and cannabis and must be found to be free of controlled substances and cannabis before he or she may receive an instruction permit. If the proposal makes it through legislation, Eddy said he believes it will help sway young drivers away from drug usage.
"I think this will give them a good, acceptable reason to say no is in situations where there is peer pressure. Maybe they are 14 or 15-years-old when they are working to get their permit and they can be in social situations where peer pressure is a real force. For them to be able to say, 'I'm taking my drivers test in a week,' maybe that was the one time they needed," he said.
"This is especially true with meth. It is highly addictive and once or twice using it could get you addicted. If they can stay away from it for that one time, it would be a good deterrent."
Another thing Eddy said the proposal was intended to enforce was that driving is a privilege.
"There is no better time for drivers to learn that than when they are getting their permit," he said.
When the bill was originally introduced, some had a problem with the 100 percent assumption of guilt, so the drug testing would be random.
"That was not the intent to assume that everyone is guilty, but if that is something they are concerned about, let's do it randomly. Let's find a random percentage that is reflective of what drug usage might be in that age group," Eddy said.
While Eddy is hoping the bill will pass, others disapprove.
Pete Guither, a faculty advisor for Students for Sensible Drug Policy at ISU, does not believe that the bill will be effective.
"I think it is ridiculous, silly, inappropriate and ineffective. Here's the issue. Really what you need to be dealing with when it comes to driving is impaired driving. Drug testing at the time of permit or license has absolutely nothing to do with that. What it does is simply go out of its way to target young people who have used marijuana, regardless if it has anything to do with their driving," Guither said.
"The drug test would probably be very specifically targeted at marijuana because its metabolites can stay in the system for days, so that is what can be tested. It would be silly to say, 'We're going to test people that have had a drink of wine two days ago. That is a reason for them not to be drivers.'"
Kirk Ijams, assistant chief of Support Services at the Normal Police Department, said although he does not know a lot about the bill, he does not believe it would be very effective if it were only given once and at random.
"People could start a habit after they get their license and could be in danger. Also, if you're giving a test, test everybody and treat everybody fairly," Ijams said. "It might catch a few but it probably won't be as effective as if they tested every time a person got renewed or something like that."
"Maybe we should do it more than once, maybe we should do it with everybody, I don't know. I think we should be a lot more concerned with the people driving, not under the influence of alcohol, but under the influence of narcotics," Eddy said.
According to Guither, every study done has shown that alcohol is the more dangerous factor when it comes to road safety.
"It is not even a close consideration with marijuana, which is somewhat in the same area as cell phone usage and being tired," he said. "It's really just a way for Congress to act tough. It is just not constitutionally a good idea."
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