Roadside drug testing may come to Michigan

LANSING, Mich – A plan to create a pilot roadside drug-testing program in five of the state's counties will soon be on its way to Gov. Rick Snyder.

The Legislature approved bills Thursday that would allow law enforcement officers who are trained to recognize impairment due to drugs or alcohol to test drivers' saliva.

The state police would choose five counties to start the yearlong pilot program.

A bill analysis says the results of the roadside saliva test could be allowed as evidence in criminal prosecutions or administrative hearings in some cases.

According to a report done by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), most police personnel are not trained to look for substances used by the driver other than alcohol. This would mean that officers would have to go through special training to be able to test for marijuana use in drivers.

The proposed testing method would benefit the conviction process due to the fact that crime labs are usually not capable of providing results in a timely manner to meet court deadlines when samples are taken at a hospital. This leads to charges being dropped and a loss of interest in collecting samples from those suspected of driving under the influence of marijuana. 

Supportive lawmakers argue that despite it being illegal to drive while high on marijuana, cocaine, LSD or other drugs, the number of drugged drivers is increasing.