Michigan State Police to begin new drug testing pilot program

Published: Jul. 13, 2016 at 11:51 PM EDT
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(7/13/16)- Michigan State Police is taking drug testing to a whole new level. They're not only looking for drunk drivers on the road, but drug drivers as well.

Traveling up and down I-75, Alpena resident Richard Maliniak knows how dangerous erratic drivers can be.

"Especially in towns, with how fast people are driving around. If someone is possibly on drugs, weaving back and forth you never know," Maliniak said.

Michigan State Police is trying to reduce those numbers starting with a new pilot program. Their focus: Drivers with heavy drugs in their system.

"It's going to be a drug recognition expert program. And it's going to take place in five different counties in Michigan. We're going to determine these counties based on the number of traffic crashes involving alcohol or drugs and the number of arrests involving alcohol or drugs in these counties," Lt. David Kaiser said.

When troopers pull you over, they'll bring in a specially trained expert.

"He has 12 different test he will do, including checking your respiration per minute, looking at your blood pressure, your pupils to see if they're dilated or they're pinpointed. At the end of these tests, if he determines based on these test you're under the influence of drugs, he can then take a saliva sample, using a swab and will right there on the road, be able to determine if you've been driving under the influence of an illegal drug," Lt. Kaiser said.

Critics are concerned marijuana results could be inaccurate because the drug can be detected in the body long after the effects have left your system.

Many drivers we spoke to, however, say police need this tool to get drugged drivers off the road.

"I want to be safe on the road and I think everybody should be safe on the road," West Branch resident Eileen Fouriner said.

"I think it's a good thing. Just like if they were drunk or taking alcohol, you can get them off the road. Same thing with the drugs," Monroe resident Betty Fortner said.

MSP tells us they hope to begin this new program either late this summer or early fall.