MSP cracking down on drugged driving - WNEM TV 5

MSP cracking down on drugged driving

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A new Michigan State Police program is sparking a debate about rights and safety.

MSP said the program will cut down on the number of drivers on drugs after a sharp increase in drug-related deaths last year.

“With the trends these days, with the opioid epidemic, we’re seeing more and more drugged driving,” MSP Lt. Jim Lang said.

Lang said at least five Michigan counties will experience a one-year oral fluid roadside drug testing program beginning next week.

Those counties include Berrien, Delta, Kent, St. Clair and Washtenaw and the tests will be conducted by a Drug Recognition Expert (DRE) or police officer trained in how to identify drivers impaired by drugs. However, the reason those counties were chosen was due to a number of factors.

“The number of DRE’s they have in the county, they look at the amount of arrests and things like that, and determined that these would be the best test counties,” Lang said.

Lang said these drug tests are voluntary. However, citizens who deny it can receive a civil infraction on their record.

“Somebody refuses the PBT it carries a civil infraction penalty, and that would be the same for the mouth swab as well,” Lang said.

This has raised some concerns for residents in Mid-Michigan. Should the test program be brought to their area?

However, Lang believes the process is actually for the community's benefit, particularly for families on the road.

“How it impacts families. It’s not just one person behind the wheel, sail down the road, it impacts a lot of us driving down the road,” Lang said.

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