MSP rolls out program to crack down on drugged driving - WNEM TV 5

MSP rolls out program to crack down on drugged driving

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(Source :WNEM) (Source :WNEM)
WASHTENAW COUNTY, MI (WNEM) -

In an effort to reduce the rising rate of deadly accidents involving drivers under the influence of drugs, Michigan State Police launched a new roadside testing program on Wednesday.

Specially trained officers will administer the roadside saliva test to suspected impaired drivers in five counties for the next year.

“It’s a pilot program that we are testing out for a year,” Trooper Jeff Schmerheim said.

Schmerheim is based out of Brighton and he is one of the troopers trained to administer the saliva test.

“I was just trained on Monday and we’re just getting ready to roll it out here and see how it goes,” he said.

The saliva test program is only in effect for one year and will be enforced in five counties around Michigan. Those five counties are Washtenaw, Berrien, Kent, St. Clair and Delta.

“I think it’s OK. They have to do something to know whether they are high on drugs. It’s not just about alcohol now,” said David Haydon, resident.

Hayden is from the Livingston County area. He said the program can help keep people safe.

“I definitely think it should be a statewide or nothing type of thing,” Hayden said.

Everyone may not agree with Hayden’s point of view.

Bryan Vitale works in Washtenaw County. He said the test seems like an invasion of privacy.

“Looking back at what was done at my company, I think people thought it was intrusive and I think it’s an invasion of privacy,” Vitale said.

The program is not in effect in the Saginaw or Genesee County areas, but Schmerheim said no one should driver under the influence.

In 2016 there were 236 drug-involved traffic deaths. That is an increase from 179 drug-involved traffic deaths in 2015.

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