Police in California may soon have a new weapon in their efforts to get DUI drivers off the road. The state legislature is considering authorizing the use of a device that measures levels of marijuana, cocaine, amphetamines and pain medications (including opiates).
The push to get the new device approved is apparently in response to a California ballot measure that would authorize the use of recreational marijuana in the state. In an April 6th article, the Los Angeles Times reported that State Senator Bob Huff of San Dimas has authored a bill that permits police to take an oral swab from a DUI suspect and then use a handheld device to test for the presence of marijuana and other controlled substances.
Lawmakers may have good reason to be concerned about the consequences on driving habits if the pot bill passes. The Times article notes a 40 percent increase in positive tests for drugs in drivers killed in crashes in California between 2009 and 2013. It also said that pot-related traffic deaths increased by almost one-third in Colorado in the year after that state legalized recreational pot.