California Lawmakers Mull Drug-Detection Technology

Soon, law enforcement officers in California could use drug-detection technology to determine whether motorists are driving under the influence of drugs, including cocaine and marijuana.

California lawmakers are currently considering a proposal that would allow police officers to use drug-detection technology to identify whether drivers have marijuana, cocaine, heroin or other drugs in their system. The proposal is being considered under Bill 1356, which would change the state laws to define that any motorist in California has consented to chemical testing of blood or oral fluids to determine the presence of drugs. Under this measure, officers would be allowed to use a device that would determine the presence of drugs by using saliva.

The device that would be used to accomplish this is the DDS 2 Mobile Test System, and, according to the company which developed it, the device a 90% accuracy rate. The device is used to test a saliva sample, and results are available in a matter of minutes. The device will test whether the person is driving under influence of the cocaine, marijuana or other drugs including amphetamines, methamphetamines or opiates.

According to lawmakers who have sponsored the proposal, determining that a person is driving under the influence of alcohol has become easier over the years as the technology has improved. However, officer still struggle when it comes to determining whether a person is driving erratically because he's under the influence of drugs.

There are already critics of the proposal including those who believe that the accuracy of the swab test has not been sufficiently proven. For example, the saliva test seems to measure the past use of the drug by the person, but does not really measure the actual level of impairment of the person.

California has laws that allow the use of medical marijuana, and the system would not differentiate between a person using marijuana in his system for medicinal purposes, and someone using the drug o for recreational purposes.