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Federal Impaired Driving Survey Attracts Criticism

On Behalf of | Mar 11, 2014 | Firm News |


A nationwide effort by the federal government to determine how many motorists drive while impaired by drugs or alcohol is attracting some criticism for being invasive and possibly in violation of people’s constitutional rights.

According to an article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the National Survey of Alcohol and Drugged Driving has been conducted every year since 1973, but the methods being used over the past year are apparently much more aggressive than they have been in the past.

For example, one man claims that he was pulled over for no real reason, interrogated about his driving habits and then told to provide a cheek swab, which was used to determine whether he had drugs or alcohol in his system. The man claims he was not given a choice as to whether he would participate in the survey; he has since filed a lawsuit, claiming his Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable search and seizure were violated.

Roadside stops such as the one this man says he experienced have been repeated thousands of times across the country.

As a Minneapolis DWI attorney, I am observing this unfolding story with interest. Naturally, we all want to ensure public safety, and it is legitimate to say that the federal government needs to have something of a realistic idea of how many impaired drivers are behind the wheel. However, if the survey is being conducted as has been alleged in this man’s lawsuit, then it seems there is something to the idea that these data-collecting tactics are overly aggressive.

What do you think? Does this seem like a fair and reasonable way to fight impaired driving, or does it strike you as going too far.

If you’re ever interested in talking with a Twin Cities criminal defense attorney who handles drunk-driving matters, please feel free to contact me.