Michigan roadside drug testing program: Attorney raises privacy concerns

Neil Rockind says test will show prescription drugs

DETROIT - As Michigan rolls out the second phase of its roadside drug testing program, an attorney is questioning the privacy of the tests.

MORE: What to know about Michigan's roadside drug testing program

Michigan State Police Lt. Michael Shaw said he believes the program can save lives, citing the 247 people who were killed by drug-impaired traffic crashes last year.

However, attorney Neil Rockind is challenging the legal privacy aspect of such tests.

"It really tests for things that are prescribed, so it really allows the police to do more than just act on reasonable suspicion or probable cause," Rockind said. "The police can act on guesswork."

If a driver refuses to take the drug test when a police officer wants to administer it, the driver can receive a civil infraction.

Despite this, Rockind advises drivers to not take the test.

He said he doesn't trust the science behind the test. He also said it leaves drivers vulnerable to being arrested even if they aren't acting intoxicated.

How it works

According to state police, under the pilot program a drug recognition expert (DRE) may require a person to submit to a preliminary oral fluid analysis to detect the presence of a controlled substance in the person’s body if they suspect the driver is impaired by drugs. The preliminary oral fluid analysis will be conducted by a DRE on the person’s oral fluid, obtained by mouth swab, and will be administered along with the drug recognition 12-step evaluation currently used by DREs.

The oral fluid test instrument tests for the presence of the following drugs: amphetamines, benzodiazepines, cannabis (delta 9 THC), cocaine, methamphetamines and opiates.

Refusal to submit to a preliminary oral fluid analysis upon lawful demand of a police officer is a civil infraction.

State police said 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 are also involved.

Participating law enforcement agencies include:

  • Adrian Township Police Department
  • Allegan County Sheriff’s Department
  • Alma Department of Public Safety
  • Alpena Police Department
  • Ann Arbor Police Department
  • Auburn Hills Police Department
  • Battle Creek Police Department
  • Bay City Police Department
  • Bay County Sheriff’s Office
  • Berrien County Sheriff’s Office
  • Bloomfield Township Police Department
  • Cadillac Police Department
  • Canton Township Police Department
  • Charlevoix County Sheriff’s Office
  • Chikaming Township Police Department
  • Clawson Police Department
  • Dearborn Police Department
  • Escanaba Department of Public Safety
  • Gogebic County Sheriff’s Office
  • Grand Blanc Township Police Department
  • Grand Haven Department of Public Safety
  • Grand Rapids Police Department
  • Grand Valley State University Police Department
  • Greenville Department of Public Safety
  • Hamburg Township Police Department
  • Imlay City Police Department
  • Ingham County Sheriff’s Office
  • Kalkaska County Sheriff’s Department
  • Kent County Sheriff’s Office
  • Lake County Sheriff’s Office
  • Lapeer Police Department
  • Lincoln Township Police Department
  • Livonia Police Department
  • Macomb County Sheriff’s Department
  • Marquette County Sheriff’s Office
  • Menominee Police Department
  • Michigan State Police
  • Midland Police Department
  • Monroe Department of Public Safety
  • Mt. Pleasant Police Department
  • Muskegon Police Department
  • Novi Police Department
  • Oscoda Township Police Department
  • Petoskey Department of Public Safety
  • Pokagon Tribal Police
  • Port Huron Police Department
  • Roscommon County Sheriff’s Department
  • Southfield Police Department
  • St. Clair County Sheriff’s Office
  • Troy Police Department
  • University of Michigan Police Department
  • Washtenaw Co Sheriff’s Office
  • Wayland Police Department
  • Western Michigan University Department of Public Service
  • Ypsilanti Police Department

You can see the full pilot program report below:

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