Last month, California lawmakers rejected a bill that would equip police with new technology to better assess and charge drug-impaired driving. Assembly Bill 1356 would have made use of the DS 2 Mobile Test System, developed by Alere, to more accurately detect marijuana, cocaine, and other narcotics in a driver's system with a simple saliva sample.
According to KHTS AM 1220, the bill was created by Assemblyman Tom Lackey, who also served the California Highway Patrol for nearly three decades. According to Lackey, it is finally time to give law enforcement powerful tools to combat drug-impaired driving. "Better tools for law enforcement have allowed us to cut down on drunk driving. We need to pursue the same strategy for drugged driving which is unfortunately rapidly increasing," Lackey told the press.
As it stands, drugged driving tests for drivers can be difficult to administer, time consuming, and inaccurate. According to a report by Government Technology on the DS 2 Mobile Test System, Alere claims that the new system—which would allow officers to skip a blood or urine test—has a 90% accuracy rate.
Mixed Support for the New Technology
Prior to the Assembly Bill 1356 vote, both the legal and drug reform communities were concerned about the implications of the new technology. Dale Gieringer, director of the California National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, pointed out that while the DS 2 Mobile Test System is roughly as accurate as blood tests in detecting the presence of drug compounds, it does not address a larger problem in driver drug testing: it does not measure actual impairment.
Assemblyman Lackey claims that concerns over the technology are "premature" and called his bill's defeat in the Public Safety Committee "a setback for roadway safety." Assembly Bill 1356 is scheduled for reconsideration in January 2016.
If you have been charged with a drug-related DUI, then the time to speak to a knowledgeable and aggressive San Diego DUI defense attorney. At The Law Offices of Kerry L. Armstrong, APLC we are well-versed in the shortcomings these charges usually carry against the accused and how to protect their rights against imperfect testing and improper police protocol.
Just because you've been charged does not mean you have accept a guilty verdict. Contact us today to start exploring your legal options.