Outcry against Federal Administration's DUI Data Collection Strategies

For years now, the federal administration’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has been collecting data on DUI from motorists randomly. Strategies typically involve pulling motorists over, and taking a breath test, or asking for a blood or saliva test. However, the outcry against such methods has begun to increase, and many advocates are calling for the elimination of such practices.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration as part of its National Roadside Survey of Alcohol and Drug Driving has conducted the survey five times since 1973. It is believed to be an important tool that can help monitor the number of intoxicated motorists on our roadways.

However, there have always been questions asked about the methodologies used to collect this data. Typically, a motorist is pulled over by a police officer or a private contractor for the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and asked to take a breath test. He's also offered money to provide a sample for the blood or saliva test.

Officials insist that the tests are voluntary, and notices are put up informing motorists that they are not obliged to take the test. Additionally, the tests are anonymous. When a driver is found to be impaired, he's given a ride home.

However, many police departments across the country have begun to resist taking part in the survey because they are worried about the legality of the practice. In fact, in Tennessee recently, a law that recently cleared the Senate, would ban law enforcement officers from helping out in collecting data for the survey.

There have also been questions raised about whether the test is voluntary at all. Critics allege that very often, a passive alcohol sensor device is used to collect a breath sample from the motorist even before he gives or refuses consent. There are also allegations that the study provides law-enforcement officers bonuses, to obtain saliva and blood samples, leading to aggressive practices.