ROADSIDE MOUTH SWAB DEVICE TESTS FOR SEVEN DRUGS IN A DRIVER’S SYSTEM
Police are increasingly concerned about drivers who are under the influence of drugs (DUID), especially since marijuana has been legalized in the state. California Vehicle Code section 23152(e) makes it unlawful for someone to drive under the influence of any drug and as I discussed previously, this includes prescription and even over-the-counter drugs if that drug affects a person’s ability to drive safely. But unlike driving under the influence of alcohol, there is no quantitative standard by which this influence can be measured, it is up to the subjective determination of the cop and other evidence, including observations and the results of a blood test.
While there is no current method of road side testing for drugs that measure how much of a drug is in a person’s system, a new device, with a rather ominous sounding name. the Dräger DrugTest 5000, is currently being deployed in Los Angeles and San Diego and sure to soon appear in other California cities. This device can test for the presence of seven drugs from a simple mouth swab. The device is a compact, easy to use mobile drug screening machine that allows a police officer, who upon reasonable suspicion of DUID, to request a mouth swab from the driver, which is then placed in the machine. The swab is mixed with a vial of testing solution and after about six to eight minutes it will print out a receipt that shows negative or positive results for marijuana, cocaine, opiates, methamphetamine, amphetamine, methadone and benzodiazepines. In addition to road-side use, the device is being employed at DUI checkpoints.