Starting Tuesday, October 1, police across Michigan can now conduct oral roadside drug tests that can detect the use of drugs.
According to Michigan State Police, a one-year pilot program was done in five counties - Berrien, Delta, Kent, St. Clair and Washtenaw - from November 2017 to November 2018.
In that year, 92 tests were conducted in the five counties - half of them in Washtenaw County. 74 of those drivers tested positive for THC.
The roadside results were compared to a follow-up saliva and blood test from the drivers. Out of those 74 cases, blood tests confirmed the presence of THC in 63 cases.
While not foolproof, it's enough for MSP to have said they performed 'well'.
The data wasn't enough to draw any definitive conclusions so, in February of this year, the committee recommended the pilot expand to all drug-recognition experts (DREs) in the entire state.
Over the last several years, Michigan has seen a steady increase in fatal crashes involving drivers impaired by drugs. In 2018, there were 247 drug-involved traffic fatalities.
"This additional, statewide data will help to determine the usefulness of this tool for law enforcement, as we work to get drug-impaired drivers off Michigan's roads," said Lt. Col. Richard Arnold, commander of MSP's Field Operations Bureau. "Roadside oral fluid testing continues to show promise and by expanding this pilot, we'll have a larger body of results by which to determine the tool's effectiveness."
Under the program, a DRE can require drivers to submit to the oral test to detect the presence of a controlled substance. The test can detect the following drugs: amphetamines, benzodiazepines, cannabis (THC), cocaine, methamphetamines, and opiates.
If you refuse to submit, you can be arrested.
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