Now that cannabis has been legalized in California, the chances of encountering a drugged driver on the road will also increase. Police have been looking for a way to test for the presence of impairing drugs without requiring a blood test. Now, police may have the device they need, at least in San Diego, according to the LA Times.
Two new testing machines called the Dräger DrugTest 5000 are now being used at DUI checkpoints to test for seven different intoxicating drugs. Each is about the size of a stereo system. Suspected drivers run a swab around the inside of their mouth for a few minutes. The swab is then placed into a solution and inserted into the machine. In about 6-8 minutes, it can tell whether or not the driver has the substances. However, it cannot tell amounts. A blood test is still needed for that.
The compounds it tests for are marijuana, cocaine, opiates, methamphetamine, amphetamine, methadone and benzodiazepines. Some of these are legal drugs but cause driving to become dangerous. Since it can only test for these compounds, other drugs can be missed. Police might still require a blood test if they suspect impairment so they can test for other compounds.
Consider these devices as a new type of breathalyzer. We shall be watching their use carefully to see how well the evidence stands up in court. The devices are used in Colorado and in several foreign countries. This particular model has been manufactured since 2009.
Have you been charged with DUI or drugged driving? Contact our law office immediately for a free consultation.