The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has started a process
they haven't done since 2007. On Friday June 14, 2013, roadblocks
went up in two towns about 40 miles on both sides of Birmingham, Alabama.
Over the weekend, off duty sheriff's deputies flagged down motorists
asking a few simple questions and asked for a breath, saliva, or blood
samples. The motorists that complied with a saliva sample were given 10
dollars and those that gave a blood sample were given 50 dollars.
This study is being done to find out how many drivers are on the road with
drugs or alcohol in their system. According to the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration, similar roadblocks will be set up all around the
nation in communities later this year. The administration has done this
several times before, back in 2007 and dating it all the way back to 1970.
According to the administration, drunk or drugged driving accounts for
more than 10,000 deaths yearly. The costs of this program that is typical
run over three years, is 7.9 million dollars. The study starts with the
planning and ends with analyzing the results. The participation is done
to the results are completely anonymous. In fact, deputies are told not
to make any arrests during these stops. If a motorist gave a breath sample
and was found to be legally intoxicated, they were given a ride home.
While the administration says this study was completely voluntary, others
tend to believe otherwise. Susan Watson, executive director of the Alabama
chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union said, "How voluntary
is it when you have a police officer in uniform flagging you down? Are
you going to stop? Yes, you’re going to stop." She called it
an abuse in power. Governor Robert Bentley of Alabama was upset that his
office hadn't been informed. Governor Bentley says that because of
recent NSA troubles and IRS complaints that the National Highway Traffic
Safety Administration picked a bad time do this study involving roadblocks
like this. A spokesman for Governor Bentley says that they just want to
make sure the rights of their citizens are being protected.
Some deputies who had the morning shift at the roadblocks said they had
some motorists turn them down. Many said they did not have time or they
couldn't as they were on their way to work. Deputy Kevin Lawrence
gave this reasoning as further proof as to why the roadblocks were completely
voluntary. He said that no one was made to participate. In fact, he stated
that motorists could pick exactly what they wanted to do, whether just
answer the survey, answer and give blood, or just leave.
If you or loved one has been arrested for driving under the influence,
one of our DUI Defense Attorneys at Joey Gilbert Law for a FREE confidential consultation.