Washtenaw among Michigan counties where state police will start roadside drug testing


LANSING, Mich. – Starting next week, some police officers in five counties including Washtenaw County will be asking drivers to allow a swab of their mouth to determine if they've been using drugs.

Michigan State Police say it's part of an effort to cut down on "drugged driving."

The one-year program starts Wednesday in:

  • Berrien County
  • Delta County
  • Kent County
  • St. Clair County
  • Washtenaw County

Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue says drivers "under the influence of drugs pose a risk to themselves and others on the road."

"With drugged driving on the rise, law enforcement officers need an effective tool to assist in making these determinations during a traffic stop," Etue said. 

Police officers who are trained as drug recognition experts will collect oral fluid if they suspect a driver is impaired by drugs.

"DREs are police officers who have received highly specified training that allows them to identify drivers impaired by drugs. Although the pilot program is being organized and managed by the MSP, DREs employed by county, township and municipal police agencies will also be involved," a statement from state police reads. 

A refusal is treated as a civil infraction.

State police say there were 236 drug-related traffic fatalities in 2016, a 32 percent increase.

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