Drug and Alcohol Roadblocks Causes Concern

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.


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