The scientific validity of Michigan’s newly instituted roadside drug testing has its skeptics.

Roadside drug testing has been instituted in Berrien, Delta, Kent, St. Clair and Washtenaw counties starting in November of 2017. These tests screen substances like amphetamine, benzodiazepines, marijuana/cannabis, cocaine, methamphetamine, and opiates. But how reliable are they? Morality aside, many are concerned roadside drug testing is not scientifically valid.

People that support these programs say that it saves lives. According to MLive and an AP report, “Fatal crashes in the state increased more than 30 percent from 2015 to 2016… There were nearly 240 fatal crashes in 2016, compared to nearly 180 in 2015.”

A lot of these were caused by drunk and drugged driving. The concern is understandable. But is this enough to justify roadside drug testing? Some say that drugs affect everyone differently. So just testing drug levels in the blood is not enough to tell whether someone is too intoxicated to drive.

roadside drug testing

Photo courtesy of NBC News.

Michigan Medical Marijuana Association president Michael Komorn is one of these people. “Nobody should be compelled to take this test until we’ve got some confirmation that it is an accurate test,” he said. “That’s basic fundamental liberty and freedom, that government shouldn’t be able to subject individuals to tests.”

A study published in the Journal of Analytical Methods of Chemistry found that roadside drug testing is relatively valid, though they have a high chance of false negatives and positives.

This is a pilot program, which means that the results will be compiled after a year to see how it is working. It will be interesting to see the practical manifestations of roadside drug testing.

What are your thoughts on roadside drug testing? Do you think it is a valid test of determining if someone is too intoxicated to drive? Let us know in the comments below!

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