Another freedom lost
Freedom lost and gone forever
A recent incident in Ft. Worth, Texas brought to light a federal program costing $7.9 Million dollars that has been implemented by the NHTSA (National Highway Transportation Safety Administration). The incident in Ft. Worth involved selecting vehicles at random, directing them to a specific area where they were met by technicians asking for breath, blood, and saliva samples. This was supposedly part of a federal research project concerning drivers who are impaired due to alcohol or drugs.
Now keep in mind that these selected vehicles were not observed breaking any laws, driving recklessly, or appearing to be driven by an impaired driver. They used off-duty police officers in uniform to select and stop vehicles at random and demand them to comply with these tests.
The Ft. Worth police chief, Jeffrey Halstead, has since apologized for this operation but this is only the beginning. With his apology he also stated the Ft. Worth police department will never approve any operation of this type again. This same operation is slated to be repeated in 300 locations in 60 different cities in the country. I wonder if the police chief's in those other cities will go along with this program?
The ACLU of Texas is now involved and feels these type of searches "are the most invasive police can conduct."
Catherine Howden, spokesperson for NHTSA claims driver participation is "completely voluntary and anonymous." It was reported that drivers stopped in Ft. Worth did not get the feeling the tests were voluntary.
THE COMMON SENSE FACTOR:
The purpose for this test is to determine how many drivers are on the road who are driving impaired by drugs or alcohol. If the tests are voluntary, and the driver is impaired, would he or she voluntarily submit to the testing?
With that in mind, the $7.9 Million dollar study would find that there were no impaired drivers on the road. It makes one wonder what genius came up with this plan.
THE LEGAL IMPLICATIONS:
The odds of an impaired driver being selected in this program are very good. If an impaired driver is selected and had not been observed driving erratically, it could result in a lawsuit due to illegal search. If the police do catch an impaired driver in this program and they let them leave, they are liable if that driver hurts or kills someone. Due to the nature of the traffic stop, the driver could most likely beat the DUI in the courts if he was arrested.
At the same time those conducting the survey are secretly recording the drivers breath with a device attached to their clip boards without the drivers permission.
There was a previous study conducted in 2007 involving more than 9,000 drivers in various locations. The DNA tests were conducted by The Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation. Supposedly if they encountered a driver under the influence, a supervisor conducted a breath test. If the driver had a blood-alcohol level over .05, they made sure they got home safely.
The first program of this nature took place in 1973, followed by similar programs in 1986 and 1998. So this is not a new idea by NHTSA.
I personally have serious concerns over the number of impaired drivers on the road today, but object to programs requiring random testing like this one. I totally agree with the random road blocks we have here around the Holiday Season. Every impaired driver they catch is one less I need to worry about when I am driving. I also agree with the DUI task forces that roam the streets around the holidays. They successfully remove a large number of impaired drivers from our streets. But they do this by observing the driver driving as if they are impaired.
I think the penalties for impaired driving could be much harsher. Most of those caught driving impaired are not first time offenders. That would indicate to me that the punishment was not harsh enough to deter them from repeating the offense again. I feel their driving privileges should be suspended for a long period of time, and driving with a suspended license would be a mandatory prison sentence.
I would object to being selected at random and subjected to breath, blood, and saliva testing while driving to the store for a loaf of bread.
I object to federal involvement with any programs of this nature. Most of the larger police departments have their own programs in place to deal with impaired drivers. Every day we learn of some new "Big Brother" program by the feds using our hard earned tax dollars to pay for the program. I see this program as just one more step toward total control of all citizens by the Federal Government.
Get used to doing this.
This could happen while you are on the way to school to pick up your children, or to the store for a loaf of bread. This is not the same country where I grew up.
What would you do?
If stopped at random and asked to submit to blood, breath, and saliva tests?
It could be you that is stopped
With testing of this nature to continue in 60 more cities, there is a probability you could be selected at random for testing. You might be thinking a little about what you would do in this circumstance.
Your comments are welcome and appreciated, but please stay on topic.